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The Underfall Yard by Big Big Train: burnished and soulful

Big Big Train's The Underfall Yard, the grandest British prog album of the 21st century, gets even grander

Big Big Train - The Underfall Yard
(Image: © English Electric Recordings)

Big Big Train are proof that good things come to those who wait; the British prog flag bearers claimed their first Top 40 album with 2019’s Grand Tour, nearly 30 years after they formed. 

The Underfall Yard, released a decade earlier in 2009, was a key staging post on their long crawl to success. BBT had already released five albums by that point, to various levels of acclaim from the prog cognoscenti, but this pushed things to the next level. 

Part of this was down to new frontman David Longdon, a man with a stellar, soulful voice, the range of which was matched by the emotion it carried – a scarce commodity in post-millennial prog.

But a bigger reason for its success was musical. BBT were prog traditionalists, and The Underfall Yard’s six tracks evoked the graceful musical world building of Genesis and Yes, not least on the 12-minute Victorian Brickwork and the 20-minute title track. 

This luxurious three-disc reissue adds re-recorded versions of those two songs plus a pair of brand new tracks to the original album. They’re welcome additions, although The Underfall Yard didn’t really need any further burnishing.

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.