Album Review: Transatlantic – “Kaleidoscope”
I love the word supergroup. It conjures up so many images in my mind of musicians with other worldly abilities saving the world, one note at a time. More often than not however, it just describes a bunch of musicians who are having a jam and nobody dares tell them how bad they are.
Then of course, there’s Transatlantic. When you put Mike Portnoy in the same room as Roine Stolt something magic is bound to happen, and when you mix in a little Marillion in the form of Pete Trewavas and general prog all rounder Neal Morse, the sparks really start to fly. On their previous studio albums they have proved to prog lovers that they are truly more than the sum of their parts. But have they kept the magic alive with their fourth album? Thankfully the answer is yes.
While maybe not as ambitious as the 77 minute one track tour de force that was third album ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Kaleidoscope’ shows a group still very much on the top of their game. Which is not to say that the album is not without its weak points, and the surprisingly pedestrian ballad ‘Shine’ strays into almost cheesy rock territory, but when Transatlantic stretch their not inconsiderable wings, the results are stunning.
The album starts and ends with the epics, namely ‘Into The Blue’ and the title track, each brimming with ideas and melodies that a lot of bands would break up into a whole albums worth of songs, and at around half an hour each, they could have easily done so. The remaining two tracks ‘Black As The Sky’ (which has Stolt’s Flower Kings written all over it) and ‘Beyond The Sun’ round off the album perfectly, making Kaleidoscope, despite the odd misstep, another 70 minutes of prog heaven.
It’s unlikely that we’ll hear anything else from these guys in a while, as they like a lot of other prog musicians, are almost always busy with other projects. But it’s nice to know that almost 5 years after their last release they can produce something of this quality, and we can be safe in the knowledge that no matter how long we have to wait for the next album it’s pretty certain they’ll still be showing everyone else how it’s done.