Sean Filkins - War And Piece & Other Short Stories

Sean Filkins
War And Piece & Other Short Stories
(Festival Music 201103)

The debut of the former frontman of Big Big Train is one you shouldn't have missed in the past year. Over sixty minutes of pure progressive rock references to a very gala of predecessor, with a most striking reference to the second instrumental part Sirens Song of Epitath Of A Mariner, which sounds very familiar to the eighties work of Tangerine Dream. Sean Filkins was a member of Big Big TRain at the time of the albums Gathering Speed and The Difference Machine. Precisely during the period when the band decided to broaden their musical horizon. This can clearly be heard on his debut.

Filkins is a storyteller, who performs his stories like Nick Barrett, although vocally he is much stronger and sounds like a crossover of early Phil Collins and Alan Reed, while ex- Galahad bassplayer Lee Abraham, responsible for the instrumental support, covers the production, assisted by Karl Groom and Filkins himself. After the opener Are You Sitting Comfortably?, a soundscape of preparing tea over a musical background of Jerusalem, Filkins and band leave the starting blocks energetically with The English Eccentric, that refers to Neil Morse, Spock's Beard, Genesis, IQ and Pendragon with a contribution of Dave Meros on bass and an acoustic interlude by Gary Chandler.

Next the block of long songs takes off. The two part half hour long Prisoner Of Conscience and the twenty minutes long Epitath Of A Mariner. Both songs don't bore for a moment and display Filkins' compositional performance. Strong songs with pace, style and atmospheric changes and  soloistic performances of keyboardplayer John Sammes and guitarists John Mitchell and Darren Newitt, with a great double solo of both guitarists at the end of Epitath Of A Mariner. Closer Learn Ho To Learn has a strong Yes rememberance. Not only because of the vocal line but also the acoustic and electric guitar parts.

War And Peace & Other Short Stories has become a great album. It contains all the ingredients for an hour of progressive listening, with a cocktail of styles, atmospheres and a great singer. Filkins knows how to get and keep your attention and with a list of well known prog artists, he has created an album which sounds melodic and catchy, gets stuck and keeps the listener alert.


01. Are You Sitting Comfortably?
02. The English Eccentric
03. Prisoner Of Conscience Part 1: The Soldier
04. Prisoner Of Conscience Part 2: The Ordinary Man
05. Epitath For A Mariner
       - Sailors Hymn
       - Sirens Song
       - Maelstrom
       - Ode To William Pull
       - Epitath
06. Learn How To Learn


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