For over ten years, English based Big Big Train has brought their blend of progressive rock to the forefront with its distinctive, intellectual, and enjoyable nature. Their luscious heartfelt and historical accounts of British places, people, and events are combined with stunning vocals and melodies handled by violinist/vocalist Rachel Hall, keyboardist Danny Manners, bassist/guitarist Greg Spawton, drummer Nick D’Virgilio, guitarist Dave Gregory, and vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Rikard Sjöblom.
This 2019 release, “Grand Tour,” is no exception, and arriving on the heels of its predecessor, Grimspound. Their new album is nspired by the 17th and 18th century custom of the Grand Tour, where young men and women travelled to broaden the mind, while following the legacy of the Italian Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci, the rise and fall of Rome , and the shipwreck of a great poet lost in a tempest off the coat of Italy. Big Big Train holds characteristically true, demonstrating again why the band is a one-of-a-kind master of its craft.
Analog fans can find vinyl copies, and CD versions can be added into one’s library. However, for high-resolution audiophiles, head to BandCamp and download a 96kHz / 24-bit stereo copy for your collection. This album contains some of the band’s top compositions during this decade such as the brief opener “Novum Organum” placing Longdon’s relatively sparse yet succulent and sentimental score of piano chords, underpinned by delicate percussion, and celestial keyboard pattern. This leads into “Alive,” a joyously energetic, catchy, and multilayered piece, with awe-inspiring harmonies. These first two pieces alone cement the ensembles unparalleled knack for both songwriting and arranging, continuing with the warmly life-affirming “The Florentine,” the surprisingly zany instrumental “Pantheon,” and elegant multipart suites “Ariel” and “Voyager.”
At its zenith, the album equals everything that came before it, rivaling anything produced by the septet’s contemporaries, further solidifying Big Big Train’s place as one of the most favorited and important bands in the progressive genre today. David Longdon notes “Grand Tour is a celebration of the human experience, of science and art, and of what it means to be alive.”
Lossless hi-res 96k/ 24-bit stereo download, also available on CD or Vinyl.