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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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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This was my first ride on the big train if you will, and that first ride was an experience that I won't forget. This is not what I was expecting at all. I think I first heard of this band back in 2004 with their "Gathering Speed" album, I assumed they were a Neo-Prog band back then and honestly stayed away only because there always seemed to be some poor reviews in with the good. They divided people.This album did the same. I finally decided I would listen and make my own conclusions, and this album was my first ride. My first thoughts were directed towards how sophisticated and interesting the music was. Not typical in the least. The sax, viola and mellotron are a great touch, enjoyable vocals and the drumming and bass are very prominant. The leader Gregory Spawton said that KING CRIMSON, GENESIS and VDGG influenced this recording. Yes this is adventerous. Some guests on here as well including Dave Meros and Nick D'Virgillo from SPOCK'S BEARD, and Pete Trewavas from MARILLION.

"Hope This Finds You" features lots of atmosphere as viola and sax joins in. The SPOCK'S BEARDS boys are the rhythm section on "Perfect Cosmic Storm". It opens with outbursts of guitar as bass and drums come and go. Organ before a minute. It kicks in hard then settles as vocals come in. The tempo picks up but really it's all over the place. Chunky bass as mellotron comes in. Guitar then sax before 3 1/2 minutes. Lots of mellotron after 4 minutes as it settles again. Sax before 6 minutes followed by vocals. Lots more mellotron then the tempo picks up before 10 minutes. It's heavier 11 1/2 minutes and we get some angular guitar before 12 minutes followed by vocals. It settles before 14 minutes with sax. "Breathing Space" features crickets and lots of atmosphere. "Pick Up If Your There" has Nick on drums but Pete on bass this time. Vocals and a catchy beat right away. Mellotron washes in. Organ 1 1/2 minutes in. Gotta love the deep bass lines and the drum work here. Viola before 4 minutes followed a minute later with a calm and mellotron. It kicks back in with some great organ and drums. Sax before 9 1/2 minutes. Check out the bass and drums a minute later. Viola ends it.

"From The Wide Open Sea" is another fantastic atmospheric piece like the first and third songs. Again Gregory creates this with his keyboards. Very moving. "Salt Water Falling On Uneven Ground" opens in a spacey way before we get this enjoyable steady beat. Vocals before a minute. The regular drummer and bass player are featured here (and the final track) and they both shine. The tempo keeps shifting. Great sound before 4 minutes. Interesting section 5 1/2 minutes in with acoustic guitar and these voices in the background. It's building then it settles 7 1/2 minutes in. It kicks back in with guitar around 11 minutes. What a song ! "Summer's Lease" opens with drums and vocals, sax a minute in. It's fuller after 3 minutes. Sax a minute later. So much going on but it's not busy at all. And the atmosphere on this and the last track make all the difference.

A special album, and a tip of the hat to Gregory Spawton who wrote all the lyrics and most of the music.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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