BIG BIG TRAIN – The Likes Of Us (2024) *HQ*

BIG BIG TRAIN - The Likes Of Us (2024) - lossless full

International progressive rock collective BIG BIG TRAIN will release their 15th studio album, “The Likes Of Us“, via InsideOut Music on March 1, 2024, their first for the specialized record label. Musical genre definitions aside, BIG BIG TRAIN are a big fish in their chosen pond. Back in 2021, the group’s album ‘Common Ground’ returned prog rock to the British national Top 40 chart.
“First and foremost BIG BIG TRAIN are a Rock band, but we are absolutely a prog band, too,” bassist/co-founder Gregory Spawton declares. “We are very conscious of the traditions that we follow; we have never dissed them and we never will. The fact that we put classic-sounding prog back into the charts is absolutely fantastic.”
“The Likes Of Us” also marks the first full release with new frontman Alberto Bravin (ex- PFM). This new BIG BIG TRAIN is a stunning piece of work that retains all the elements that make the band so special, including absorbing and memorable arrangements and first-rate musicianship.

Many bands don’t recover from the death of a lead vocalist. Especially when it’s someone who also wrote a good chunk of the band’s songs. Big Big Train lost David Longdon on November 20, 2021. They were preparing to release “Welcome to the Planet” at the beginning of the following year.
Ultimately that album served as a glorious farewell to an extremely talented and unique singer. The band were at a crossroads. They were arguably as popular as they’d ever been yet they had to decide if they could continue and if so, how?

Enter the multi-talented Alberto Bravin of PFM from Italy for the new album “The Likes Of Us.” The band was already spread across the globe so Bravin being based in Italy wasn’t a problem. Vocally he wasn’t a clone of Longdon either. That would have been certainly understandable had they wanted someone who sounded familiar.
If anything Bravin sounds more like drummer Nick D’Virgilio than anyone else. But the similarity is more in range and pitch than anything else.

On their first album released by a label (in this case InsideOut Music), the band are doing many things differently. A new singer, a new label and, as it turned out, a new place and method of recording the new album.
The band recorded in the same room in Italy, a first for them. All of these changes certainly could be a concern for fans. But when you have the core of the band still firmly in place, especially founder / bassist / songwriter Greg Spawton, Big Big Train is going to sound like Big Big Train.

Overall, the musical direction is similar to the last few albums. “The Likes Of Us” is less acoustic and more modern prog which means they are looking to the future versus recreating the past.
The bulk of the album was written by Sprawton and Bravin together. This is most notable since Sprawton and Longdon wrote separately for the most part. Being in the same location led to some amazing chemistry and playing.
“Oblivion” was released as a single and it’s the one track neither of those two had a hand in writing. D’Virgilio and guitarist Dave Foster wrote this killer track which serves as a great introduction to the new lineup.

The album kicks off with “Light Left In The Day.” The song start off delicate and somber. “Make the most of the light left in the day.” It does seem to reference how precious your life is. A nice way to give a tribute to Longdon. The song eventually takes full flight the way that this band is capable. Majestic and powerful.
Next, “Oblivion” just kicks ass. BBT has their way of rocking out and this track does that. And to satisfy the fans of epics, there are two of them. One is the 17 plus minute “Beneath the Masts” and the other is the 10 minute track “Miramare”.

“Beneath the Masts” is one of the best epics BBT has done. This is where you find out just why they chose Bravin as the singer. I love the occasional raspy sound he gets in his voice. He has both power and emotion. All of this on display. Plus since he does remind me a bit of D’Virgilio’s voice, when they sing together, it’s a perfect fit. This song makes the album worthwhile on its own. The key to any epic is to not even realize how long it is. Before you know it, it’s done.
The same can be said for “Miramare” which has some punch to it to go along with a grandness that BBT is known for.

Another great track is “Love is the Light,” a delicate and beautiful song. Check out the amazing falsetto on it. Any questions now? “Bookmarks” is yet another fantastic song. Just gorgeous, with majestic strings. The album closes out with the rocking “Last Eleven” and a killer vocal by Bravin.
There isn’t a weak moment let alone song on “The Likes of Us.” Big Big Train are back and they are still the same band but with a new engine. If you haven’t heard this band, “The Likes of Us” makes a great starting point. For long time fans, “The Likes of Us” shows that there is nothing that can slow down Big Big Train, not even death.
Highly Recommended


01 – Light Left in the Day
02 – Oblivion
03 – Beneath the Masts
04 – Skates On
05 – Miramare
06 – Love Is the Light
07 – Bookmarks
08 – Last Eleven
09 – Miramare (Single Edit)

Alberto Bravin (ex-PFM)
Nick D’Virgilio (ex-Spock’s Beard)
Rikard Sjöblom (Beardfish)
Gregory Spawton
Clare Lindley (Stackridge)
Dave Foster (Steve Rothery Band)
Oskar Holldorff (Dim Gray)


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