BIG BIG TRAIN is a band I have never been into in a big way. Maybe because I’d already had my fill on what are often called neo-progressive bands however good they were (there seemed to be so many of them!), and I was hanging on MARILLION’s every word. What a mistake I made, and now I’ve got some catching up to do. If unfamiliar with their music, they are, as you might guess, fairly obsessed with railways, as indeed I am myself, and I really wish governments would stop wasting money on all sorts of things, bring back British Rail, and sort out our railway infrastructure, especially where I live in Scotland. “Ingenious Devices” is released to mark the 85th anniversary of the Mallard’s speed record as previous material is revisited with a 17-piece string section at Abbey Road studios.
BBT favourite ‘East Coast Racer’, all 15:46 of it (a typical length for a BIG BIG TRAIN track), is a new version with a splendid guitar solo by Dave Gregory. There is a short instrumental bridge before ‘Brooklands’, from the group’s “Folklore” album, featuring the fantastic voice of the much-missed David Langdon, with new drums and bass. ‘Voyager’ from “Grand Tour” has additional guitar and violin, and there is a special treat with a live ‘Atlantic Cable’ recorded in September, 2022 in Aylesbury with new singer Alberto Bravin, which shows the band at their progressively virtuosic best.
“Ingenious Devices” is a wonderful and moving album that will reward many listens – surely it is destined to become a classic in years to come.