Big Big Train - The Second Brightest Star album review

The neo-prog veterans maintain a purple patch

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The latest name to try their hand at a ‘secret’ release, Big Big Train held back all news of this album’s existence until dropping it quietly on the day of the summer solstice.

A mere two months after the critically acclaimed Grimspound, The Second Brightest Star is the prog-rock band’s third record within a year. Indeed, had Big Big Train failed to deliver the goods with such admirable consistency then this follow-up might have looked foolish. It’s probably best viewed as a companion to Grimspound and its predecessor Folklore, including as it does alternate, extended versions of some of those selections.

Mostly, though, these are new or previously unreleased songs. Its haunting title track and the fragrant, sun-kissed Haymaking are quite, quite beautiful. Indeed, notwithstanding the Swedes and an American in the line-up, nobody else does this type of bucolic, typically English music with as much charm or finesse.