Big Big Train - The Difference Machine

Year of Release: 2007
Label: English Electric Recordings
Catalog Number: EERCD003
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:54:00

One might say that the meaning behind the title of "Perfect Cosmic Storm" is the melding of influences to create the strongest track on Big Big Train's latest release The Difference Machine. A piece steeped in 70s prog tradition, bringing together moments that echo Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd and even a little King Crimson. One of the big surprises is the left of center saxophone section that comes in at around 3:20. The music is engaging and constantly changing, and honestly I cannot find a weak moment in the entire 14 minutes, I honestly like all that I hear. The saxophone that leads out of the track and into the second ambient piece "Breathing Space" is another one of those points that seems to give you the chills as the Mellotron churns for this short instrumental.

The Difference Machine features extensive contributions from some progressive music heavyweights like Pete Trewavas, Nick D'Virgilio and Dave Meros.

The rest of the tracks fail to match up to "Perfect Cosmic Storm," but are good symphonic pro, just not as inspired. The performances are excellent throughout, and the songs have a catchy, melodic quality. The short instrumental tracks ("Hope This Finds You," "Breathing Space," and "From The Wide Open Sea") that segue into the longer songs are interesting, adding flow and extra atmosphere. The integration of horns and viola throughout the CD add color to the standard 4 piece sound. The closing track "Summer's Lease" (again nice use of sax) reminds me of the quiet sections of "Supper's Ready" in mood. Although mainly a mellow track, "Summer's Lease" shines bright and stands out with "Perfect Cosmic Storm" as the cream of the crop on The Difference Machine. Big Big Train would do well to continue to employ this varied instrumentation, it brings out the best in their music.

Hope This Finds You (3:12) / Perfect Cosmic Storm (14:40) / Breathing Space (1:47) / Pick Up If You're There (13:40) / From The Wide Open Sea (1:20) / Saltwater Falling On Uneven Ground (12:38) / Summer's Lease (7:34)

Gregory Spawton - keyboards, guitars, vocals
Tony Wright - tenor & alto saxophone, flute
Becca King - viola
Sean Filkins - vocals
Sean Hughes - drums
Andy Poole - bass
Nick D'Virgilio - drums
Dave Meros - bass

From The River To The Sea (demos on self-released CD) (1992)
The Infant Hercules (demo cass) (1993)
Goodbye To The Age Of Steam (1994)
English Boy Wonders (1997)
Bard (2002)
Gathering Speed (2004/2009)
The Difference Machine (2007/2010)
English Boy Wonders (remade/remastered) (2008)
The Underfall Yard (2009/2011)
Goodbye To The Age Of Steam (remastered/expanded) (2011)
English Electric, Part One (2012)
English Electric, Part Two (2013)
Folklore (2016)
Grimspond (2017)
The Second Brightest Star (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: September 28th 2007
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Artist website:
Hits: 3012
Language: english


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