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Neal Morse - Lifeline CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 283 ratings

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4 stars After more than 20 listens, I can keep silent no more. Unlike many 2008 releases, Lifeline has the stuff of enduring prog quality that will keep it in my album rotation, probably for the rest of my life. The musicianship and song-craft are excellent and I can find no criticism with either. All the elements of prog (albeit retro) are present. Fans of Genesis, Yes, Styx, and even Floyd will feel the warmth of long-loved musical phrasings, complete with timing and production changes, all wrapped in fresh expressions of the genre.

The only reason I give it a 4 (point 5) rating is that some of the lyrics are a bit skoochy. For example: Life like a razor can shave you clean Or it cuts in a moment to leave you to bleed Not too bad a simile (I guess), but it's lead off for the song Fly High seems a bit too stark -- I continually find myself chagrining my last battle with the morning razor, and missing the next 15 or so seconds of the song. But such lyrical fouls are sparse and small, and offer no reason for throwing this baby out with the bath water.

A note about the Christian lyrics.
I think the last time I felt good about tolerating overt Christian lyrics was with Stryper's Reason for the Season and Jars of Clay's debut. So when I first heard the closing refrain of the title track, I thought with a roll of the eyes, Uh oh. Here comes the cheese... But happily, this is not the case with Neal. So he hits between the eyes and one leaves Lifeline with no doubt about where he stands regarding things-God. But somehow it's not offensive. (I think it's worth contrasting these lyrics with the tired, polar opposite offered this year in Edensong's The Sixth Day from The Fruit Fallen album (talk about an eye-roller ).

So if you're not averse to wonderful retro-prog with overt Christian themes, I highly recommend you add Neal Morse's Lifeline to your collection.

EnderEd | 4/5 |


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