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Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 884 ratings

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4 stars An album and band whose imitative/derivative sound had repelled me for years has finally earned it's respect and admiration.

1. "Duel With The Devil" (26:43) : (42/50) - i) Motherless Children - incredible opening two minutes, but then things become so derivative. At the end of the fifth minute the vocals begin. So much like ASIA. Fairly good melodies. Good performances though a bit loose and out-of-sync in places. (13/15) - ii) Walk Away - at the seven minute mark this odd pseudo-acoustic, pseudo-folk JON ANDERSON-like song is inserted. It amps up for the chorus while trying to retain fairy melodies from its start before launching into a full-on prog assault of bombastic proportions--guitar power chords and Hammond on full display. (7.75/10) - iii) Silence of the Night - at 11:35 everything slows down as if in a jazz porno dream. Talking wah-guitar soloing over wavering Fender Rhodes. Too sexy! And then add sax! Too much! And to come out of it with PINK FLOYD's "Eclipse" from Dark Side of the Moon is just too audacious, even impudent. (8.25/10) - iv) You're Not Alone - at 15:53 we change channels and find ourselves bouncing along a 1970s pop hit by AMBROSIA or THE LITTLE RIVER BAND. (4/5) - v) Almost Home - at 18:40 we have our final shift into a very TFK/YES-"Soon Oh Soon"-like steel pedal guitar solo before they launch into a Relayer-like instrumental passage. The vocal section that comes next is remarkable for it's "Elite" choir gospel-church-like backing vocals. This is wonderful! This is followed by a very TFK-familiar climax and finish. (9/10)

2. "Suite Charlotte Pike" (14:30) (29/35): - i) If She Runs - opens with a fade in to a jam like something from a PRINCE concert. At the end of the second minute the band congeals into a rock tune to support a EAGLES/BEATLES-like vocal section. The finishing instrumental section is very BEATLES-ish (intentionally so). Odd with all of the band members' studio commentary included. (8.5/10) - ii) Mr. Wonderful - at 4:40 we move into more 1960s styles, mostly the BEACH BOYS, despite Roine Stolt's signature voice in the lead vocal spot. Pleasant. (4.25/5) - iii) Lost and Found pt. 1 - a brief Richard Wright/PINK FLOYDian synth solo (4/5) - iv) Temple of the Gods - at 8:25 we move into a more aggressive passage of BEATLES-medley mix. (3.5/5) - v) Motherless Children / If She Runs (reprise) - at 10:55 we move into a mellow reprise of the Motherless Children theme and lyrics from the previous song. Nice guitar solo in the thirteenth minute preceding the return to the opening theme of "If She Runs." As is typical of the Stolt projects, the finale is the best part. (8.75/10)

3. "Bridge Across Forever" (5:33) Neal and piano. (8.5/10)

4. "Stranger In Your Soul" (26:05) (50.5/55): - i) Sleeping Wide Awake - cheap synth strings intro precedes "Watcher of the Skies"-like entrance and beginning before Yes bass and ASIA-like synth bring us up and into the organ-dominated motif that precedes the vocals. The vocal section--which is shared alternately and, later, collectively, by Neal and at least two other members--is very nice: simple music that supports the nice melodies and stylings--until (8.75/10) - ii) Hanging in the Balance - the jarring leap into thickness and heaviness at the six minute mark. This section is well constructed--though the drums feel out of sync with the sound of the rest of the music. (8.5/10) - iii) Lost and Found pt. 2 - around 9:45 we move into this Southern rock-feeling passage, which decays into a pleasant little interlude of BEATLES-like pastoral bliss before jumping into a full-powered, bass-thumping instrumental section for an incredible solo from guitarist Roine Stolt. Weird then to go back to the BUGGLES-like vocal section. (8.75/10) - iv) Awakening the Stranger - at 12:35 we descend into the crystalline waters piano with dreamy guitar, synth, and vocal incidentals in the background. At 14:15 this pretty section evolves into a very pleasant plaintive vocal performance from Neal over his piano. Great melodies, great nuanced support from the others. (10/10) - v) Slide - This then moves seemlessly and magically into a multi-layered "strings" passage. These two passages make up the best "song" I've ever heard from TMPTE. (5/5) - vi) Stranger In Your Soul - at 17:40 we slide into a new section in which there is a very impressive display of organ, bass, and drum mastery right off the bat. A PORCUPINE TREE-like vocal over jazzy drums and piano interrupts this temporarily, but the heavy organ-bass-drums motif reappears here and there to remind us that it's all part of the same song--and then by the 20-minute mark we are fully returned to it for a prolonged instrumental passage. Solos by synths, guitar, bass proceed to fill the next few minutes. At the end of the 22nd minute we return to the vocal motif, only with a little more power and thickness behind Neal's voice. (9.5/10)

Total Time 72:51

It sounds and feels as if the boys had a lot of fun playing the music on this record, but it also feels as if it was fairly easy to put together these songs--the motifs and styles of which have so many familiar predecessors and models.

B/four stars; a very nice addition to any prog lover's music collection--but definitely worth it if only to hear the wonderful epic, "Stranger In Your Soul."

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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