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Transatlantic - The Whirlwind CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 904 ratings

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3 stars The positives are that overall this is a good album, it's epic, meandering and bombastic, with a sprinkling of pompousness. It changes moods and has it's fair share of catchy hooks and quiet moments. It's well produced and recorded and has long moments that you can lose yourself in, which for me is why I like Prog in the first place. It also isn't trying to recreate and rehash old Prog music from the past, which so many current prog bands do, basically because nice middle aged, middle class people want them to. The music nods to a number of different influences, which you can plainly hear, but doesn't plagiarise.

The inescapable fact is that it is strongly influenced by Neil Morse, who many people either like or dislike; he's a rather polarising figure. If you're familiar with the other members of the band, you can hear their influences on the Morse based infrastructure of the music, like their leaves on his tree, if you'll pardon the pretentious analogy.

Having listened to a lot of Spocks Beard and Neil Morse, I have become slightly weary of his blunt didactic lyrical style and his reliance on familiar musical themes and styles - a la Gentle Giant etc. You can almost predict the little motifs such as da da da, da dada da. Got me? :-) There is absolutely no doubting his fantastic ability on the keys. He has a good voice, but again, he doesn't vary much from his usual repertoire.

I happen to enjoy Pete Trewavis' bass and vocals and also Roine Stolts guitar, although Roine's playing can be a little predictable and the wah wah pedal is often overused. Portnoys drumming is the usual high standard and his enthusiasm is palpable; I like him a lot. I listened to the album many times, which is in itself a good sign, IMHO. I also bought the dvd, which is great, even though Morse is highly annoying a lot of the time, and seems full of his own importance and not a little pious.

The lyrics are... well....erm.. acceptable. As usual the lyrics are full of references to "The Light" and the "epic struggle" of blah blah, and swamped in hyperbole, and contain the de rigueur, half hearted anti establishment/ anti bankster references to try to stay current and inclusive.

While there is no doubting Morse's religious fervor and enthusiasm, a few of the other lyrics sometimes miss the mark because they don't always appear sincere. However, this isn't uncommon amongst Prog artists these days and clever, poetic lyrics of a really high standard are rare and often with current Prog bands (or any other type of band/ musician), they are just there to break up and punctuate the music. This is fine if that's what you're looking for, but for me, I am looking for more.

It's not groundbreaking and it's nothing new and it even comes across as a bit rushed at points, but it's a good album by some very good musicians and I'd definitely recommend it.

BillyWhizz | 3/5 |


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