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Thread: Common Ground, Big Big Train Review

  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by The Czar View Post
    I ordered it from Band Wagon USA. Paid for it on Saturday and got it Monday(today) 4 days before the release date, which is great!
    I bought two other cds and a shirt, so the shipping was $10, but I got it all in 2 days!

    So far I am underwhelmed by the album. But I have only listened once. So far the first half has way too many alternate singers, when I would rather just hear David sing.
    Considering it is written by the main songwriters that have made such great music since Underfall Yard, I'm not sure why this should not impress on the first listen? Maybe it was because of them not being able to work on the songs together in the same space? Maybe the loss of 2 or 3 members?
    Not sure.
    I hope it grows on me, but for now I just give it a ...Meh.

    Five out of BBT's last seven albums Meh'ed me upon first listen. Multiple listens convinced me on three of the remaining five. I hope Common Ground convinces me.
    Did Rikard Sjöblom compose any of the material?
    Last edited by Crawford Glissadevil; 07-27-2021 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post

    Longdon sings lead vocals on all the tracks with vocals, according to the credits.There are backing vocals, and a small amount of female vocals in a song or two. So it didn't seem like there were any lead vocals by other vocalists, aside from what I just mentioned.
    Apparently Nick sings lead on a section of track 2 and track 3 has leads by Nick, Rikard and Carly Bryant.

  3. #28
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawford Glissadevil View Post
    Five out of BBT's last seven albums Meh'ed me upon first listen. Multiple listens convinced me on three of the remaining five. I hope Common Ground convinces me.
    Did Rikard Sjöblom compose any of the material?
    He co-wrote one short track with Greg Spawton. It’s just Rikard on keyboards. I hear Rikard more on this album than the rest, which is good. Not a lot, but some.

    I’m having a second listen after ripping to my iPhone, so more coherent thoughts to come.
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  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawford Glissadevil View Post
    Five out of BBT's last seven albums Meh'ed me upon first listen. Multiple listens convinced me on three of the remaining five. I hope Common Ground convinces me.
    Did Rikard Sjöblom compose any of the material?
    Rikard is so all over this album, it's crazy.

    His instrumental keyboard piece is beautiful, worth the price of admission alone.

  5. #30
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    Interview with David and Nick about the new album and some mention of upcoming North American touring.

    Offered as a transcript or audio:

    https://www.sonicperspectives.com/in...ick-dvirgilio/

  6. #31
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    'Atlantic Cable': fifteen glorious minutes.

    Gregory Spawton at the top of his game.

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    It's cool to see that Rikard did most of the keys and guitars on the album, they are phenomenal. He really seems like one of the most loved dudes in the genre right now, at least among the people who know him. I always hear how ridiculously talented and friendly he is.

  8. #33
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Its a nice album. Not among their best imho. A little bit too 'safe' overall. I hope they let Rikard write a bit more on the next album.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Czar View Post
    Ok, it's growing in me. David sounds odd to me in the really low vocal register on All the love we can give.
    The credits suggest it's David, but I proposed the question to the BBT moderator on FB.

    Mellotron played on various songs by:
    David Longdon - The Strangest Times
    Nick D'Virgilio - Al the Love We Can Give
    Rikard Sjöblom - Black With Ink, Apollo
    Greg Spawnton - Atlantic Cable
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  10. #35
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    A new video went up today:


  11. #36
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firth View Post
    The credits suggest it's David, but I proposed the question to the BBT moderator on FB.

    Mellotron played on various songs by:
    David Longdon - The Strangest Times
    Nick D'Virgilio - Al the Love We Can Give
    Rikard Sjöblom - Black With Ink, Apollo
    Greg Spawnton - Atlantic Cable
    Pretty sure it IS Longdon singing the low vocals. I don’t love them.
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    It IS David singing the lower register. Nick encouraged him to sing low and channel his 80s Bowie vibe. Although I hear that vibe, I'm not a fan of that range for him, he doesn't sound very strong in it.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottAM View Post
    It IS David singing the lower register. Nick encouraged him to sing low and channel his 80s Bowie vibe. Although I hear that vibe, I'm not a fan of that range for him, he doesn't sound very strong in it.
    Dave and then Nick sing on that. If you go to the blog on this site at the bottom, there is commentary on the creation of this song and others.
    https://www.bigbigtrain.com/common-ground/

    PS, I think Nick’s intention for this song he wrote the music for, was to provide the intensity lyrically, vocally and instrumentally towards the end. Every time I listen to this album I hear something else interesting.
    On the verge of indecision
    I'll always take the roundabout way

  14. #39
    Member The Czar's Avatar
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    Actually, Strangest Times has grown on me.
    All the love we can give is good, but the lower vocals don't do it for me.
    I really dislike Black with Ink.
    Apollo is pretty ok, but seems like filler.
    Common ground is nice
    The saving graces of this album is Atlantic Cable, endnotes and the Strangest Times to me.

  15. #40
    I just had my first listen of the new album, the weekend was far too busy to allow any space for listening. My first impressions are confused! I've been following posts on faceBook where the vibe has been effusive, evangelical and typically OTT, and so I was expecting to be knocked off my feet by something to compare to English Electric.

    I found Part One to be a lot weaker than Part Two, and frankly it didn't grab me enough. The low register vocals on track two were odd and I don't think they worked. The writing in part One in general was not the BBT I have grown to love. They may be trying to break new ground, but I'm not convinced.

    Part Two is far more coherent and harks back to the glories which elevated them a decade or so ago. Atlantic Cable and Endnotes are the stand-outs for me on first listen, and I'll be playing this section a lot. I really missed Dave Gregory's guitar and Rachel and Danny's contributions.

    Obviously new music needs time to settle in, so I'll see how this one evolves with me.

  16. #41
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    I've been listening to MP3's while waiting for my cd to arrive and am really liking it after a couple of plays. Atlantic Cable sounds wonderful, this is where BBT really excel with their historical story songs - its like when watching a movie that is based on a true story; it carries that extra emotional punch - looking forward to this one growing on me more and more.

  17. #42
    Big Big Train is a band I prefer listening to rather than seeing perform. I've only ever seen a DVD of a performance, but for some reason was distracted by the Longdon's demeanor while singing. I'm not entirely sure what it is about it that rubs me the wrong way and it's not something that comes across when I just listen to his voice (which I like). Oddly enough, Di Virgilio also gives me the same feeling and again, I can't quite place what is "off" about it to me.
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottAM View Post
    It IS David singing the lower register. Nick encouraged him to sing low and channel his 80s Bowie vibe. Although I hear that vibe, I'm not a fan of that range for him, he doesn't sound very strong in it.
    It’s very clearly David singing it. I’m surprised there was any doubt. But I agree that it’s weak. Feels contrived and pretty tough to listen to.

  19. #44
    Only two songs in on my first listen. So far, it’s quite good. I had no problems with the vox on the second track. There are some very Rikard moments on the song.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  20. #45
    ^ I had no problems with it either. In fact, I thought it was cool to hear David mixing it up a little bit by singing in a different register than usual.

    Will take more listens to absorb, but I enjoyed Common Ground a lot when I listened to the whole thing a couple days ago.

  21. #46
    I'm enjoying the album, but it feels like it may end up being a bit of a transitional record for them. It definitely feels like a smaller band to me than that which recorded the previous string of albums. Even though there's violin on nearly every track, it seems much less prominent. There's also a lot less flute, and the brass section only shows up in the latter part of the album. I like Longdon singing in the lower register on All the Love we can Give, though I wouldn't necessarily want to hear it on a regular basis, and the overall use of multiple vocalists is cool, though it's a bit weird that the two songs which heavily feature lead lines by singers other than DL are together, and so early in the album. It also strikes me a bit unusual that the two instrumentals are grouped together.

  22. #47
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splicer View Post
    Big Big Train is a band I prefer listening to rather than seeing perform. I've only ever seen a DVD of a performance, but for some reason was distracted by the Longdon's demeanor while singing. I'm not entirely sure what it is about it that rubs me the wrong way and it's not something that comes across when I just listen to his voice (which I like). Oddly enough, Di Virgilio also gives me the same feeling and again, I can't quite place what is "off" about it to me.
    I’ve ALWAYS felt this way about Nick. He always rubs me the wrong way. Longdon did when first seeing live footage, but I’ve gotten used to him.
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  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by dpt3 View Post
    It also strikes me a bit unusual that the two instrumentals are grouped together.
    Very much so. Headwaters is fine at the midpoint as a segue, but Apollo should not have been right after it. Definitely a blunder in my opinion.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by mylard View Post
    It's cool to see that Rikard did most of the keys and guitars on the album, they are phenomenal. He really seems like one of the most loved dudes in the genre right now, at least among the people who know him. I always hear how ridiculously talented and friendly he is.
    He may not have composed a whole lot for this album, but there feels like a lot of him in the arrangements and sound. The album sort of reminds me of Beardfish’s Comfortzone.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpt3 View Post
    I'm enjoying the album, but it feels like it may end up being a bit of a transitional record for them. It definitely feels like a smaller band to me than that which recorded the previous string of albums. Even though there's violin on nearly every track, it seems much less prominent. There's also a lot less flute, and the brass section only shows up in the latter part of the album.
    I’m certainly on board for the transition if this indeed the case. The small band feel—and, to be sure, this is still BBT; the sounds and songs are big—is certainly appealing. I’d love to see the band tour as a four piece with Longdon and Rikard sharing keys and guitar duties.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunlight Caller View Post
    I just had my first listen of the new album, the weekend was far too busy to allow any space for listening. My first impressions are confused! I've been following posts on faceBook where the vibe has been effusive, evangelical and typically OTT, and so I was expecting to be knocked off my feet by something to compare to English Electric.

    I found Part One to be a lot weaker than Part Two, and frankly it didn't grab me enough. The low register vocals on track two were odd and I don't think they worked. The writing in part One in general was not the BBT I have grown to love. They may be trying to break new ground, but I'm not convinced.

    Part Two is far more coherent and harks back to the glories which elevated them a decade or so ago. Atlantic Cable and Endnotes are the stand-outs for me on first listen, and I'll be playing this section a lot. I really missed Dave Gregory's guitar and Rachel and Danny's contributions.

    Obviously new music needs time to settle in, so I'll see how this one evolves with me.
    Pretty much sums up my two listens thus far.

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