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Big Big Train - The Difference Machine CD (album) cover

THE DIFFERENCE MACHINE

Big Big Train

 

Crossover Prog

3.64 | 299 ratings

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memowakeman
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Big Big Music?

Before writing anything regarding the album, i would like to offer my apollogies to Big Big Train's Gregory Spawton, who i promised a review long time ago, but well, i think it's better late than never.

So they are a british band formed in the 90s and a band who honestly i didn't know before the release of the album i will review in some minutes, this effort named The Difference Machine and released in 2007 offers a good mix of symphonic prog, some neo-prog moments and even jazzy passages, for the record, in this album respected people in the realm of prog rock such as Marillion's bass player Pete Trewavas, along with Spock's Beard's Nick D'Virgilio and Dave Meros made their contribution on this album as guest artists. The Difference Machine features 7 songs and something like 55 minutes of running time, there are 3 epics, 3 very short songs, and one middle lenght song.

The album kicks off with Hope This Find You, one of the shorter tracks and a very melodic beginning, there is a viola and a sax playing there that greatly interplay in the first moments, the song is charming and very nice.

Then we will find the first epic, Perfect Cosmic Storm which lasts almost 15 minutes and which offers great music full of changes on time and tempo and even mood, here the vocals also appear and the mellotron plays also a principal role, there are some moments of the song that reminds me a bit to Spock's Beard, and you will also find some moments with a screaming-like vocals where the song turns a bit more aggressive, and then it teturns to a slower track with different structures. There is a moment where the sax enters and puts its escense on the song, in some moments the song turns a bit jazzy actually after being a symphonic song. As i previously said, the song has several changes, so it is a very nice track worth listening.

Breathing Space is a short interlude between songs 2 and 4, it has a mellotron sound and a kind of ambiental atmosphere with some cricket sounds.

Pick Up If You're There is the second epic and this lasts over 13 minutes and since the very first second the vocals appear and the song begins to build one or different structures. Here the drumming caught my attention, it is an always constant and in the right moment drumming, in the song predominates a keyboard sound but also the bass lines are excellent. Sometimes the song almost stops but either viola or mellotron prevails and a new structure begins to be built again. Around minute 8 there is a moment where the song becomes catchy due to the vocals and the great mellotron playing on it. The last minutes of the song are absolutely great.

From The Wide Open Sea is another short interlude, again an instrumental passage with some mellotron and atmospheric keyboard.

Salt Water Falling On Uneven Ground is the third and last epic, this time with 13 minutes and with a soft guitar beginning, but after a few seconds the song makes a crescendo, there are notable bass lines and the vocals remind me in some moments to a song from Alan Parsons Project. This song is alike to the other 2 epics in the sense that all of them follow a common pattern in the structure, all of them have several structures within the same song and all of them has ups and down and highs and lows. In this song i enjoy a lot listening to the vocal chorus-mellotron sound that always causes me goosebumps. The musicianship is very good and the music overall is great, though there is something missing because i don't feel that excited while listening to it, i mean, it does not fill my expectancies.

The last track of the album is Summer's Lease and is the middle lenght track. This song has a very melancholic mood and the music itself shows it, there are some slow tempo moments where the keyboard playing predominates and a delicate and beautiful saxophone sound appears. A nice melody.

Overall it is a very good album without a doubt, with talented musicians and excellent compositions, a roth listening, but...there is something missing, i don't know.

My grade would be 3 stars. Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 3/5 |

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