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Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.82 | 555 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Transatlantic return with their fourth studio offering, and are now, it would seem, becoming more of a permanent band and fixture than occasional "supergroup".

There are no real surprises on this album, because the very raison d'Ítre of this band is to put into a recorded environment the love and appreciation of the grandiose, i.e. classic symphonic prog, perhaps the most grandiose sub genre of music ever invented. Put it another way, if you loved the first three, you will love this. If you didn't, well stay away, really.

The album's format is more akin to Bridge Across Forever, in that you have three shorter tracks bookended by two humongous epics, the title track to close, and Into The Blue as a gorgeous opener. I love Neal Morse's voice, and he is at his most uplifting here, alongside some lilting Stolt guitar work, and Trewavas playing that bass of his more like Squire than ever, with all glued together by Portnoy. It is 25 minutes of pure musical joy, that never once loses the listener's interest (Kaleidoscope as a track does in parts. I regard it as being at least ten minutes too long). This is the natural follow up to Whirlwind, and, as with that track/album, if you can learn to accept that Morse lyrically is now rather predictable, erm, spiritually, then all is well. Of course, not all do like it, but I can live with it.

Of the three shorter tracks, my favourite is the beautiful Shine, a ballad in the finest tradition of prog power pop, and a great Morse Stolt collaboration. Black As The Sky has Flower Kings indelibly stamped all over it, and is simply good fun, whilst Beyond The Sun is introspective and thoughtful (in a new age Christian sort of way).

So, to the second CD, the now obligatory set of covers. When these started, they were a joy, a treat, an affirmation of the love of the varying influences this group had. Now, though, I am starting to find them ever so slightly tired and tiresome, to the extent that I will limit myself in future to just getting the original material.

I am a little biased here, in that I have never enjoyed hearing anyone sing a Yes song except Jon Anderson, and so it is here. The musicianship on And You & I is exceptional, and note perfect, but, sorry, it simply does not lift me to Anderson heights. Roine is many things. Jon he most certainly ain't. Actually, the same comments apply equally here to Nights in White Satin and Justin Hayward.

In fact, of all here, I find Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (a highlight of a superb Elton John work) to be the most interesting. The rest is, well, alright, but will not, I fear, be a regular player on the Lazland disc player.

So, to a rating. I think the original cd merits a four star rating. Much of it is excellent, and as original as retro symphonic prog can possibly be. The playing is excellent, and most of it holds you throughout. The covers cd, though, is for completionists only. Thus, three stars. Another good, strong, showing. It will, though, be interesting to see whether the next album takes the band into any fresh territory.

lazland | 3/5 |


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