Music blends with imagery offering magnetic engagement of history
FFO: Prog Rock, Lyric Films, Music Videos, British Civil Engineering
Once the video for the soundtrack from The Underfall Yard, from Big Big Train begins, there is no going back. When the music and visuals match up, a particular fascination sets in, revealing a discerning creativity of style. Watch carefully as the storyline unfolds in musicianship, words and images. Typical of Big Big Train, there is more.
Released Apr. 9, 2021, The Underfall Yard is a re-issue of the influential 2009 album, now complete with a second CD, three-vinyl option, 2020 title track song re-recording and a companion piece composed just for this collection. The exceptional title track video for the re-issue, which premiered Feb. 10, 2021, was created by Christian Rios. It is no wonder Big Big Train has developed such a loyal fanbase, judging by the music and video for The Underfall Yard.
Watching the 23:14 video for The Underfall Yard, as the figures pass by from right to left, Ramos immediately creates a compelling quality, thoroughly holding attention. The monochromatic reversed negative effect is vintaged, adding an enigmatic, perhaps otherworldly space. Meanwhile, Big Big Train’s music is engaging and aligned with a certain alternative character that remains true to the band’s art. Artistic integrity is aligned with some of the unspoken charm heard in Big Big Train.
At the 1:54 mark during the video for The Underfall Yard, lyrics first appear with, “Steel in the skies and the road/Somehow travelling far/Chasing a dream of the West, made with iron and stone.” An historical photo of Isambard Kingdom Brunel appears several times, paying homage to the notable British engineering great of yesteryear. Epic overtones abound amid the melodic and at times melancholic sound. Vocals, recording production and instrumentation are outstanding. The same holds true for performance.
Victorian-era imagery and stylization work well with the searing guitar lead at 5:06. The story evolves as silhouetted ships sit above a brick border separating the men and arches below. Spiraling fret work radiates an accompanying frenzy while, “Parting the land with the mark of a man.” The cigar smoking outline near the end takes on a larger than life standard.
As far as music and videos go, The Underfall Yard by Big Big Train is unmatched.
The personnel on The Underfall Yard album include Nick D’Virgilio – drums, vocals; David Longdon – vocals, flute, mandolin, dulcimer, organ, psaltery, glockenspiel; Gregory Spawton – bass, bass pedals, 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards; Francis Dunnery – long guitar solo; Dave Gregory – electric guitars, sitar; Jem Godfrey – synth solos; Dave Desmond – trombone; Andy Poole; 12-string acoustic guitar; Rich Evans – cornet; Nick Stones – French horn; Jon Truscott – tuba; and Jon Foyle – cello.
The Underfall Yard the album is mixed by Rob Aubrey at Aubitt Studios. Music and words by Gregory Spawton.
Lyric film for The Underfall Yard created by Christian Ramos.
For more, please visit the Big Big Train official website.
For more about Isambard Kingdom Brunel see author Richard Fortey’s The Hidden Landscape.
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.
I was somehow not familiar with Big Big Train, but this is really marvelous progressive rock. The video’s wonderful too.