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Tinyfish The Big Red Spark album cover
3.72 | 113 ratings | 8 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Loose Ends (3:11)
2. Rainland (6:54)
3. A Million Differences (2:05)
4. Bad Weather Road (6:20)
5. I'm Not Crashing (4:36)
6. Building The Machine (3:16)
7. Refugee (2:24)
8. The Big Red Spark (4:51)
9. Weak Machine (3:28)
10. Activation (0:38)
11. The Final Act (2:36)
12. The Loose Ends Pt II (2:42)
13. Wide Awake At Midnight (10:21)

Total time 53:22

Tracks on Bonus DVD:
1. The Sarcasm Never Stops (5:17)
2. Ride (5:26)
3. Eat The Ashes (3:19)
4. Let's Get Invisible (4:02)

Total time 18:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Rob Ramsay / voice of the young Professor
- Simon Godfrey / vocals, rhythm guitars, drums
- Jim Sanders / lead & rhythm guitars
- Paul Worwood / bass guitar

- Iain Houston / voice of the Refugee
- Peter Godfrey / voice of the old Professor
- Jem Godfrey / Mellotron (9)
- Geoff Wootton / lead vocals (DVD 2)
- Mike Varty / keyboards (DVD 2)
- Zhanna Neckrich / violin
- Dina Zikeyeva / violin
- Gocha Skhirlasze / violin
- Marianna Pulkis / viola
- Felix Korobov / cello

Releases information

CD Festival Music ‎- 201008 (2010, UK) Initial release included a bonus DVD containing a video interview with the band and 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to chopper for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TINYFISH The Big Red Spark ratings distribution

(113 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

TINYFISH The Big Red Spark reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by progpositivity
5 stars If Tinyfish's 2010 album "The Big Red Spark" doesn't rekindle the flame of at least one or two wonderous science fiction moments from your childhood, quickly have someone check your pulse! Schedule diagnostic tests! Better yet, call an ambulance for immediate medical attention. On second thought, forget it. If this album didn't move you, you're probably already dead.

From the earliest moments of the spoken word sequence from the album's opening song "The Loose Ends", willing prog travelers are immediately swept into a musical tale as amazing as it is mysterious. For it is in this very first song that we meet a tired, wistful professor, a man haunted by impending horrors of his own creation. What is this single wish that he's granted to everyone? What is the foreboding significance of his allusion to Nietzsche's morbid musings about all living things, once perfected, culminating in death wishes? (I won't spoil the story for you. Buy thealbum and enjoy the ride! If at first, the dreamlike fantasy eludes you, enjoy a second listen. Allow the subtlety, the flow and the intricacy of the design to make itself known. Then cheat like I did and read up on the back-story at tinyfish dot org!)

I honestly don't believe I am overstating matters in the least when I say that the thespian spoken word elements of this album rival those of the greatest concept albums of all time and simply are not to be missed. Listen and see if you don't agree.

Strictly speaking, this isn't the most progressive album on the block. Saga's 1980's appropriation of Rush-like progginess is a good reference point. The songwriting, musicianship, editing and production, however, are consistently excellent throughout. Arrangements are effectively varied. The albums songs are sonically interesting even as they remain safely tethered to hummable and memorable melodies. Simon Godfrey's vocals are impeccable.

Concept albums tend to fail miserably whenever bands wander from singular devotion to the story they are trying to tell. Tinyfish wisely avoids the temptation to integrate superfluous, distracting or disjointed compositions into the narrative. It may be their party, but Tinyfish is clearly disciplined enough to refrain from crashing the festivities for all the rest of us.

"The Big Red Spark" was three years in the making, and it was worth every moment of the wait. If, however, we are granted the one wish, let's tell the band we hope it won't take another three years for them to complete their next masterpiece!

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Three years in the making, this was threatening to become the band's "Chinese Democracy". Now it's here, was it worth the wait? Without a doubt, yes - this is the prg album of the year. Most of the album is taken up by The Big Red Spark suite - a concept about a "machine to fulfil mankind's greatest wish...". The suite starts off with the machine about to be switched on, the rest of the album is a flashback leading up to this event.

Musically the albums sounds more like the Tinyfish debut than "Curious Things" and most of the Tinyfish trademarks are there - the multi-layered guitars and vocals, the little bits you don't heard at first but that become apparent on repeated listens and, of course, the spoken word sections. This time Rob Ramsey is joined by Simon Godfrey's father, amongst others. I find myself being reminded of "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" here (not a bad thing) - a concept suite interspersed with talking, although the talking here makes more sense than Stanley Unwin. Am I alone in also being reminded of "Lost"?

Between most of the normal Tinyfish songs, we have instrumental and talking numbers, the best of these being the wonderful orchestral piece "Building the Machine" which, as Simon himself admits, sounds like something from "Peter and the Wolf". The title track itself has been played at 'fishes gigs for a couple of years and we finally get to hear the recorded version. And very good it is too. The Floyd-like "Weak Machine" is possibly my favourite track of the suite, and "The Loose Ends II" rounds the whole thing of with a reprise of the opening track. I haven't gone into much detail of the overall concept, you need to listen and read a bit about it on the Tinyfish web site but you can still enjoy a brilliant suite of songs. And there's more

"Wide Awake at Midnight" is a ten minute epic already heard on the "One Night on Fire" DVD. On the bonus DVD, along with an interesting band interview, there are 4 additional tracks. "The Sarcasm Never Stops", the soulful (potential hit single?) "Ride" which features the excellent guest vocals of Geoff Wootton, "Eat the Ashes", (all 3 of which are also on the "One Night on Fire" DVD) and the gentle "Let's Get Invisible".

So here we have it. This is the first prog album to be rated 9 out of 10 in Classic Rock (by Geoff Barton no less) and it fully deserves all 9 of those marks. Tinyfish continue to raise the bar of modern prog and this one sets the standard for others to follow.

Review by J-Man
4 stars Wide Awake at Midnight

Self-identified as "the world's smallest progressive rock band", Tinyfish has, ironically, created one of the biggest progressive rock albums in 2010 with The Big Red Spark. Boasting a stunning concept, a fantastic cast of musicians, and a professional overall product, Tinyfish has created a serious contender for progressive rock album of the year 2010. This album rocks when it needs to, it lets the atmosphere absorb you at the appropriate times, and, most importantly, it is amazing the whole way through. If you're a fan of the modern progressive rock scene, I would check out The Big Red Spark sooner rather than later. These guys may be a tiny fish (pun intended) in the ocean of progressive rock, but they have a big enough sound to really stand out from the crowd. I really hope that Tinyfish gets the recognition they deserve for The Big Red Spark outside of their dedicated cult following - they definitely deserve it.

Tinyfish sounds like a cross between Echolyn, Spock's Beard, Marillion, Porcupine Tree, and a bit of Pink Floyd. The vocal harmonies and complex tendencies remind me of early Spock's Beard and Echolyn, whereas the more atmospheric tendencies hint towards Pink Floyd, and the melancholic emotions are akin to fellow British bands Porcupine Tree and new-era Marillion. Tinyfish seem to have found the perfect balance between being melancholic and still having fun. The Big Red Spark is a concept album (aside from the closing track) about a machine that can grant man's wishes, which we later find out has some setbacks. My only real complaint with the entire album is that the final track, "Wide Awake at Midnight" feels a bit disconnected from the rest of the album. It's a fantastic song, but the fact that it's the only song on the entire album that's not part of The Big Red Spark Suite, it feels a bit awkward as a closing song. Aside from that small nitpicky complaint, I have no other issues about the album. The concept rarely gets in the way of the music, and the vast majority of the songs here are progressive rock masterpieces. Tracks like "Rainland", "Wide Awake at Midnight", "I'm Not Crashing", and "The Big Red Spark" are all terrific examples of what Tinyfish is all about.

The cast of musicians in Tinyfish are all very talented. They are technically a four-piece band, although Rob Ramsey is only responsible for the spoken word portions of the album. Simon Godfrey, who is responsible for vocals, drums, and rhythm guitar, is often the highlight for me. He has a spectacular voice with a great tone and impressive range. In addition to the four core members, there are also a host of guest musicians, all responsible for vocals, spoken word sections, and keyboard duties.

The production is simply amazing. It sounds very modern and is filled to the brim with great atmospheric qualities. No complaints here.


The Big Red Spark has often been considered one of the best prog albums from 2010, and after many dedicated listens, it's not hard to understand why. This strikingly original concept album with poignant lyrics and unforgettable music is enough to satisfy almost any listener. I was tempted to play my 5 star card here, but for now I'll go with a conservative 4.5 star rating. This is surely an essential modern prog album - long live Tinyfish!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars A cool SciFi ride even if the story and presentation (narration) is, at times, a bit over-dramatic. The elderly gentleman's narrative voice is much more powerful, much more 'natural' feeling that that of the younger man. Note the influences mentioned here and by others because they are very present: PINK FLOYD, SAGA, RUSH, PORCUPINE TREE, hence there is, at times, a bit of a favor given to drama over music complexity. Nice music throughout, nothing earth-shatteringly new or innovative but a great story well told. Agree: "Wide Awake at Midnight" doesn't fit with the album's concept theme, should have been saved for another album or the bonus song list. 3.5 star album. Rating it down for inconsistency and lack of anything really new or exciting musically.

Faves: the PINK FLOYD-ish "I'm not Crashing," the STEVEN WILSON-like "Weak Machine," and "The Final Act" (weird to hear Nietzsche's name sung!) ("Loose Ends, Pt. 2" sounds like I should be watching this show on stage as a Broadway musical . . . Who knows!)

Latest members reviews

3 stars When I first heard this album I have to admit, I hated it. The narration was a nice idea, but overdone to the point of being annoying. But then after a few plays I have to admit that it's grown on me immensly. The stand out track for me is 'Rainland', which starts with a great tribal rhythm and s ... (read more)

Report this review (#551420) | Posted by robert45 | Sunday, October 16, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Let me put it bluntly and first say what this album is full of: it is crammed with short soundscapes, intros, outros, interludes, long speeches, musical bridges between songs, storylines and narrative twists. On the other hand, what this disc is thin on is songs and music. For your money you get ... (read more)

Report this review (#450091) | Posted by DS | Friday, May 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Concept Album. Reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. Okay, I suppose it never really went away but it is certainly a format that has for a long time been at odds with current vogue, but finally help has arrived. In the hands of Tinyfish it has been imbued with new life - you ... (read more)

Report this review (#394850) | Posted by greenmanpublications | Saturday, February 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't often break cover and write reviews of albums, but here's something that really raises the bar and insists I make an exception. Tinyfish are a South London group who describe themselves as "the world's smallest progressive rock band". Their first album, eponymously titled and released i ... (read more)

Report this review (#307997) | Posted by amazingwilf | Tuesday, November 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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