Big Big Train is an independent progressive rock band from England which has been described as 'one of the great, unsung bands of British prog' (Sonic Bond) which 'continues to plough its own considerable furrow without the aid of label support' (Guitar and Bass).
In 2007, with a new singer, Sean Filkins, and with Steve Hughes back on drums after stints with The Enid and Kino, BBT released their fifth album, The Difference Machine, which features performances from Pete Trewavas (Marillion) and Nick D\'Virgilio (Genesis, Spock's Beard.)
Splendidly mellifluous UK prog, featuring appearances from Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Nick D'Virgilio from Spock's Beard.
Dave Ling, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazines
The Bournemouth band have extra locomotive power for their fifth album, with guest Pete Trewavas (Marillion), Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Genesis, Tears For Fears) and Dave Meros (Spock's Beard.) This is finely crafted and acutely involving, especially the chilling Salt Water Falling On Uneven Ground.
Geoff Barton, Classic Rock
Three epics in the 12 to 14 minute range dominate The Difference Machine, but the seven minute closer Summer's Lease stands its own beside the big guys, offering the most easily accessible melodies of the bunch on first listen. Make no mistake, though, the distinctive vocal harmonies and instrumental passage resolutions of the long tracks are what make this recording such a special experience. Score: 15.5 out of 16. Progression Magazine
Here's a tasty slab of pure prog, the fifth album from a band that continues to plough its own considerable furrow without the aid of label support. This is an English garden variety of progressive rock, not the brutal 21st century insanity of LA's Upsilon Acrux, and Genesis and Marillion are your references (indeed, Pete Trewavas can be found guesting). Expect tracks in excess of 10 minutes, fuzz guitar of every colour, serious rocking out, Beatlesque Mellotronisms, grandiose organs and perhaps just a bit too much saxophone. But then nothing's perfect...
Guitar and Bass magazine
This latest disc from Big Big Train is a fine example of how an artist can combine classic progressive rock sounds with more modern textures in a mélange that, while nodding to the music of others is as a whole something unique. There are sections that will make you think of bands like Genesis, Marillion and others, but I doubt anyone has combined those elements into a composite that's quite like this. Featuring guest appearances from Marillion's Pete Trewavas and Nick D'Virgilio and Dave Meros from Spock's Beard. I suppose the easiest comparison to give you an idea of what the music sounds like would be The Flower Kings, but this doesn't completely cover it. With three epics separated by short instrumentals and some great music, Big Big Train's The Difference Engine should be on every prog fan's playlist.
Music Street Journal
Unashamed, unreconstructed PROG ROCK. The Difference Machine is bound to please fans of Yes, The Enid and early Genesis. This one's an epic...sit back and lose yourself.
The Difference Machine.... arrived on my desk unbidden and with the barest of biographical sketches enclosed, and proceeded to take over half a morning of my time. Typically I'll throw a new arrival in and give it five or ten minutes before moving on, especially if the "to be reviewed" pile has gotten as big as it has just now. But The Difference Machine did not budge from my CD player until the closing notes of "Summer's Lease" had played out an hour later, by which time I had read as much as I possibly could about both this project and this band. The band -- avowed fans of early Genesis, King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator -- did not start out as a prog outfit but rather evolved into one over time, reaching full flower with 2004's well-reviewed Gathering Speed. The attention received by the latter album also opened doors for the band in the larger prog community, leading to some wonderful guest shots on this disc by modern prog stalwarts like Nick D'Virgilio and Dave Meros of Spock's Beard and Pete Trewavas of Marillion. The group's distinctive sound carries echoes of Gabriel-era Genesis in its complexity and seriousness of purpose, but also picks up threads of Dark Side-era Pink Floyd in its dreamy jams and liberal use of sax, not to mention a smidgen of Death Cab For Cutie-esque shimmering melancholy. Principally composed by Spawton and produced by Poole, The Difference Machine is a magnificent piece of work, one of the most engrossing and entertaining modern prog albums I've heard.
Jason Warburg, Daily Vault