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Tinyfish - The Big Red Spark CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.72 | 113 ratings

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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.

chopper | 4/5 |


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