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Big Big Train - Grimspound album review

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

The Grimspound cover

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

Embracing weird, wild and wonderful sounds, Prog's Associate Editor Jo's also a Classic Rock columnist, an avid tea-drinker and cupcake fancier.