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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TBRS Rocks
Although Tinyfish are tagged a "prog" band (whatever that means), their music is resolutely song-based, fresh and original without falling into the myriad traps that await other practitioners, or indeed listeners, of the genre.

In truth, "progressive" describes a mindset rather than a musical genre, with space for just about anything, and Tinyfish fit in...
Published on 30 Sep 2010 by Robert Hodds

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The good, the bad and the ugly
On the strength of the reviews here, I bought this album. It was unlike anything I expected and my review title, for me, describes it. There are highs and lows in it and using the title, "The Good. The Bad And The Ugly", I will explain what it did for me.

The Good - Some beautiful musicianship. Flavours of Genesis, Yes, Floyd and contemporary feel. I only refer...
Published on 29 April 2011 by Michael Hughes


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TBRS Rocks, 30 Sep 2010
By 
Robert Hodds "RJH" (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
Although Tinyfish are tagged a "prog" band (whatever that means), their music is resolutely song-based, fresh and original without falling into the myriad traps that await other practitioners, or indeed listeners, of the genre.

In truth, "progressive" describes a mindset rather than a musical genre, with space for just about anything, and Tinyfish fit in brilliantly. On this album, the production values have taken a big step forward compared to their last full studio album, with drums, guitar and vocals all benefiting from a fuller and more upfront delivery, underpinned by monumental bass work. It sounds HUGE, and really brings to notice the talent of the three musical protagonists.

The band itself is made up of four friends who, in various guises and in various forms, have been together since their youth in and around South London. All are accomplished performers who have learnt their trade the traditional way, through relentless gigging. In The Big Red Spark, this shared apprenticeship pays dividends, and then some. Make no mistake; this is the album of their lives.

In turns full throttle hard rock ("Rainland"), contemplative balladry ("I'm Not Crashing") and steaming swamp-blues ("Weak Machine" - my personal favourite), Tinyfish wear their influences on their sleeves but filter it all through a sound definably their own - the mark of all great bands.

Overarching the entire musical journey is the narrative thread of the Inventor who creates a machine that links the entire human race together through their dreams and onwards to Armageddon (possibly). As with all good concept albums, the story is both literal and interpretive and whilst not entirely unique (a good comparison would be Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds), dishes up a believable context and a real "visual" dimension to the music and the songs.

This might be a recipe for disaster ("prog" is littered with badly executed and naff "concept albums") if it wasn't for the fact that the songs and story weave around each other in a supremely stylish way. There is a real flourish and sense of theatrical timing in the way that the band have utilised narration, music and sound effects to great dramatic effect, particularly in the almost terrifying climax of the story in "Activation" and "The Final Act".

If ever an album leant itself to a film or play dramatisation, it is this one; like The Wall, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that in future, presentations of the music and story will be performed in schools and theatres. It really is that good.

The album proper ends with a 10 minute song (so it IS prog after all !) that never outstays its welcome, and acts as a superb denouement and come down after the breathless musical journey that precedes it. Initial copies of the album are bundled with a free DVD containing another 4 new tracks and a filmed interview with the band.

Tinyfish aren't just one the of the best prog bands in UK, they are one of best bands in the UK, period. Already fully deserving of the 9 out of 10 review by Geoff Barton in the respected magazine, Classic Rock, The Big Red Sparks oozes class and crossover appeal and if ever an album deserved to break a band into the next level (or ten) of sales and recognition, it is this one. Buy it. You won't regret it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of 2010, 30 Sep 2010
This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
Tinyfish's long-awaited second album, but worth every minute of the wait. The Big Red Spark is a concept piece with echoes of the great albums of the seventies (The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Tales From Topographic Oceans etc.) in the execution, but the content is modern progressive rock at its finest.

The songs are linked with spoken-word pieces written by Robert Ramsay, the band's principal lyricist, and performed by him and guests in much the way it's done in their stage act. The sound is superb throughoout, as required to do justice to the superb writing and playing. Jim Sanders (guitar) is on fire, and the songs are underpinned by the rock-solid rhythm section of Paul Worwood (bass) and Simon Godfrey (drums, but also guitar and lead vocals).

A future classic - get it now while you can say "I bought it when it was first released"!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Progressive Masterclass, 4 Oct 2010
This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
It's one thing for a band to produce a well received debut album,trying to follow it up though is a far greater challenge.

The second album traditionally is a band's opportunity to expand their original fan base, and infiltrate the mainstream.

Have Tinyfish managed to achieve this with "The Big Red Spark" in one word "Yes" and i will explain why I consider this album to be one of the best and most important releases in the progressive genre this year.

The album has been three years in the making and one can understand why whilst listening to the first track "Loose Ends" it sets the scene for what becomes an incredible journey of epic proportions,it is a chilling statement of intent which brings about the dramatic thunderous opener of "Rainland".

Jim Sanders guitar dominates the soundscape sounding heavier and more urgent than he has ever done before,Simon Godfrey`s vocals are superb on this track and you can almost hear the urgency in which he wants to tell you the story,Paul Worwood`s thunderous bass lines complete the picture of this song which is something that will stay in the canvas of your mind long after it has finished.

Rob Ramsay narrates as brilliantly as ever on "A Million Differences" this track which unites both the spoken word and music together very tightly and creates the atmosphere and story which is crucial to this albums success.

"Bad Weather Road" starts superbly well with some excellent bass and rhythmic drumming before telling another part of the story,there are so many different elements to this song and the way they have combined all the different parts together it is difficult to hear the song the same way twice,complex and completely compelling.

One of the best songs of the album "I`m not crashing" takes us onto another part of the progressive journey through the very strange but compelling world of Tinyfish and the mind of Simon Godfrey. Jim sanders guitar yet again tells a story all of its own on here with some superb playing throughout.The vocals and lyrics on this track are yet again masterful with a very clear message to the progressive rock music community,doubt us at your peril.

Another spoken word piece greets us with the track "Building The Machine" and continues with some of the best narration Rob Ramsay has produced so far,another part of the puzzle told with his usual superb precision and warmth.

Ian Houston narrates the next track "Refugee" and continues to tell another part of the story in which he mentions "The whole world is building this thing,and they don`t have a clue", the track is one part chilling and one part haunting essential to the tapestry of the album.

The title track "The Big Red Spark" combines all the best elements of the Tinyfish sound into an easy digestable 4.51 minutes worth of modern progressive greatness.Suberb musicianship and songwriting combine to provide the link and key to the heart of the album.

We have a semi-acoustic workout with a superb unexpected grungy riff underpinning the soundscape of "Weak Machine" ,which is followed by some more superb narration on "Activation" by Peter Godfrey.

The two tracks "The Final Act" and "The Loose Ends PtII" both give you a chance to contemplate what you have been listening to and act as a sort of reprise for the album as a whole before you are treated to the album `s closing track.

So finally we have "Wide Awake At Midnight" a ten minute epic which finishes the album off in some considerable style. It represents all that is good about Tinyfish and is superbly produced. It is very melodic and accessible and represents a band at their height of songwriting prowess.

Tinyfish have produced a concept album of epic proportions here ,to say I was stunned after listening to it for the first time is probably the understatement of the year so far.

It is a masterclass in modern progressive rock, and an essential purchase without question.

The version i have also contains a superb DVD Documentary on the band and has four additional bonus audio tracks as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take the journey., 5 Oct 2010
By 
Mr. A. D. West (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
This album took a few years to get out there and you can really see (or rather hear) where the time has been spent. It's not an album of songs, rather than a story that takes you on a journey through the minds of Tinyfish. It's a great album from a great band. The song writing is superb and the thought that has gone into this albums can be heard throughout. Whether you are a fan of 'Prog Rock' or not, it doesn't matter as this album is very universal and a pleasure to listen to. It has it all!!

Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prog rock without the beards, the pixies, wizards, and endless spiralling solos.., 14 Nov 2010
By 
This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
Tinyfish are a progressive rock band, but then so are Porcupine Tree, and for some broadminded folk so are Radiohead, even to some degree, the likes of Elbow and Muse. The point I'm making here is that progressive rock is not merely some prehistoric form of forgotten music. By it's very definition progressive rock, progresses and evolves into something new...or at least it should. There are plenty of bands out there who clearly would love to sound like Genesis, or Yes, and try to capture that dearly departed sound. Tinyfish are NOT one of those bands. Although their main influences may lie in the 'Neo prog' movement of the 80's, their sound is extremely fresh, and to my mind they are immeasurably better than any of the Neo bands. Although you can hear snippets of influence here and there, Tinyfish are very much a unique act. The Big Red Spark is leagues ahead of the bands excellent debut album, but continues the Tinyfish formula of a well executed balance between driving powerful rock music, poetry, and incredible atmospheres and textures. As musicians they shine, all of them. Simon Godfrey plays drums on the album, as well as singing, and playing some guitar. Jim Sanders is a fine lead guitarist, with a very melodic flavor not unlike Gilmour or Andy Latimer. Paul Worwood plays some very fluid basslines which bring great excitement to the music. Narrator Rob Ramsey provides the spoken narrative to the BRS concept. Along with a line up of guests including Simons father and brother, on the BRS Tinyfish take the listener into a world seriously screwed up by the invention of a huge machine comprised of peoples thoughts. What once seemed a good idea, and something fairly harmless, things soon get out of control and society just collapses. The story is told from the point of view of the machines creator, both through the song lyrics and Rob Ramseys spoken word. I wont go into the concept any more than that, as I'm still trying to figure some of it out myself. Concept albums are difficult to pull off, especially very cerebral concepts such as this. In terms of concepts, it's a million miles from Tales from Topographic Oceans, and far more mature than The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. It's more meaningful and serious than Thick as a Brick, but I suspect that a great many listeners will find The Big Red Spark more listenable than all of them. For those who can't be bothered with concepts, Tinyfish offer fantastic music anyway. While TBRS should be enjoyed as a while piece the individual songs stand up proudly on their own. The albums opens with Peter Godfrey (Simons dad) speaking as the scientist in old age, looking back at the monster he created in his younger days. The listeners attention is immediately grabbed, by Peter Godfreys commanding narrative (he apparently used to work for the World Service) and is then sucked into the musical vortex of the Big Red Sparks twists and turns. This album is a must for all lovers of prog rock and hard rock, and also anyone who wishes to try something new, fresh and innovative yet still melodic and kind to the ear. This band deserves to be huge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse Dreams, 5 Feb 2011
By 
D. J. Franklin (kingdom of wessex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
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. Gone are the effete and flaky hippy ramblings that form the stereotypical image of such a beast to be replaced with a mean and lean slab of dark dystopian creativity and edgy, unpredictable twists. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you, The Big Red Spark.

Fusing together a mix of operatic guitar lines, swift dynamic changes and spoken word they have created an album that plays out like a dark futuristic warning and which sounds like the musical H.G.Wells may have written if he had been a young man today, or possibly Jeff Wayne getting to grips with Orwell's 1984.

Based around the vague concept of society's demise at the hands of the creation of a vast and unspecified technology, it manages to build a musical landscape that is at a turn aggressive, horrific, reflective and hopeful. The usual neo-progressive forms are often at work here but the shadows that loom large over their world for my money are those of Schoenberg, Kafka and even Muse rather than the more obvious references of say Rush and Marillion.

Musically it brings a lot to the table, but that music is as much part of the story telling as are the narrative segments, adding mood and atmosphere to the cold words and stark imagery that is being revealed. For every driven Rainland there is a warped orchestral Building the Machine and in between the voice of the Young Professor describes the cold machinations of the worlds demise.

In short it's a brilliantly conceived and wonderfully delivered piece of work and one that should find firm fans in a world whose media seems shored up by films of apocalyptic predictions and dark fantastic scenarios.

The concept album is dead, long live the concept album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away, 10 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
I was very suprised how incredible this album is, i wasnt much of a fan before but this is a great concept album from beggining to end, not just for prog fans either Tinyfish have a very commercial undertone to a lot of their songs and could be as big as anyone if we only lived in a fair world.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The good, the bad and the ugly, 29 April 2011
By 
This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
On the strength of the reviews here, I bought this album. It was unlike anything I expected and my review title, for me, describes it. There are highs and lows in it and using the title, "The Good. The Bad And The Ugly", I will explain what it did for me.

The Good - Some beautiful musicianship. Flavours of Genesis, Yes, Floyd and contemporary feel. I only refer to them as "good" because there simply were not enough of them. Unlike a Floyd album, like, say, "The Final Cut", the intertwining just didn't cut it. The music was missing for such long periods, you just wanted the narrator to shut up and get on with. Fine, fine musicians, without a doubt, but desperately in need of a class songwriter. It all started so well, with gorgeous guitar work (which rescues this album in so many ways), sublime narration, a great intro to Rainland and then.........

The Bad - The vocals, for me as an ex musician, are what we used to call "lazy". He does what the likes of James Hetfield does. He tails off every line in the same way. With Hetfield it is a snatching "-aa!". With this singer he "falls away" at the end of each line, so that every line is on the same note. Highly irritating. You can see he has a good voice, but he is a lazy singer and the endless tailing off literally ruins songs. He tries to experiment with his voice and occasionally even sounds like Michael Jackson. Too much time is spent on narration that you feel almost desperate for a drink by the time the next musical interlude begins. The linkage between tracks just does not work, for me.

The Ugly - Aaah yes, those narrations. After the first one, which had huge promise and ambience, the follow ups sounded as wooden as hell. Not so much storytelling as listening to your maths teacher reciting the times table. Cold, inanimate and hugely damaging to the rest of the album. If you are going to narrate, get a true narrator in!

Never at any point does this album peak, or send chills. It meanders from the average to the truly awful, yet with signs of ability and beauty dotted all around it. Even the title track is mediocre. Some tracks show promise, such as "I'm Not Crashing", "Weak Machine" and "The Final Act", with some lush and glorious instrumental (Now the guitarist IS real class).

I then went on to listen to my other purchase, "Frequency" by IQ and suddenly my day lifted. What a difference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real concept album!!!, 29 Jun 2013
By 
S. George "snogger" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Big Red Spark (Audio CD)
Well what can I say. A real concept album, spoken word passages, great music, but not an ice skater in sight. Tinyfish obviously spent all the money and time in the right places - on the music. I had caught odd tracks of this on various review sights but the whole is so much better than the sum of it's parts. Definitely one of my albums of the year even if I am a year late!
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