Big Big Train - Grimspound album review

The history boys (and girls) return, with album number 10

The Grimspound cover

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Chugging along under their own steam for more than 20 years, it’s in the last four that Brit proggers Big Big Train have hit a purple patch, introducing Nick D’Virgilio, Rikard Sjöblom and Dave Gregory into their line-up and releasing lauded albums such as last year’s Folklore. That record’s leftover material was destined for a companion EP, but instead they’ve released a tenth LP, in remarkably swift time.

Under the eye of a corvine custodian, Grimspound’s eight tales reprise previous historical characters (Uncle Jack, racing driver John Cobb) and introduce new ones: flying ace Albert Ball (on opening four-parter Brave Captain), Captain Cook’s voyaging scientists (Experimental Gentlemen), and the ghost of Thomas Fisher (a delightfully spooky The Ivy Gate, featuring former Fairport Convention vocalist Judy Dyble).

Sensitively scored with their usual deft mix of prog, folk and rock, BBT hit their sleevenotes’ conceptual sweet spot (where “Romanticism and Enlightenment” meet), while drawing from their customary emotional wellspring too.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.