"A beguiling mixture of 70s Genesis and English classical music": Big Big Train plot a familiar course on 16th album The Likes of Us

An Anglo-Italian job as English proggers Big Big Train release their first album with new frontman Alberto Bravin

Big Big Train: The Likes Of Us cover art
(Image: © Inside Out Music)

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It was always going to be impossible to listen to Big Big Train’s first album with new singer Alberto Bravin (from Italian prog stalwarts PFM) without looking for clues as to how the sudden and traumatic death of previous vocalist David Longdon has affected them. 

The immediate impression is that Bravin is a very good fit for the band. He has the same thoughtful approach, and makes his mark as a team player. But there are occasional moments when you can detect that a more individual approach will emerge in due course. 

The music remains the same beguiling mixture of 70s Genesis and English classical music, spiced up with some Van Der Graaf Generator, but the lyrics have taken on a more personal touch, best exemplified by the alienation expressed on Oblivion, which has a superb dreamy middle section with heavy guitar, book-ended by some sprightly beats. 

The outstanding track is another of their epic tales, welcoming Bravin to the fold with Miramare, the name of a castle near Trieste where he currently lives.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.