Transatlantic-The Absolute Universe (Forevermore)

Super groups are kind of like porn stars. Bear with me here. Much like it seems everyone who acts in pornographic movies is labeled a “porn star”, it feels like every time members of already established bands get together on side projects they are automatically dubbed “super groups”. I feel like this is a stretch on both counts. Whereas there have to be character or supporting actors/actresses in porn, there have to be side groups that fall into a category other than “super”, right? What are the qualifications that make a side project “super”? Is it just the collective resumes of the band members? Is it that the music created by said side project is so magical as to elevate the side project to “super” status? I don’t have any answers to these questions. Just something for you to ponder as we get into this latest installment of the Void.

Transatlantic is the prog “super” group made up of Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse Band), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater and every other prog project on earth right now), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) and Pete Trewavas (Marillion). All prog royalty indeed. We’re on to album number five for these guys which evidences some staying power. I guess it’s fairly safe to credibly characterize these guys as a super group simply based on the backgrounds of these guys. All of their albums have been decent, if not completely memorable, on their own. It feels like the latest album leans more into The Flower Kings sound more so than their past efforts, which felt more like celebrations of all things Yes. There’s just bit of hippyness to the proceedings here and there’s almost a Beatle-esque sound to some of the harmonics they are trying to pull off. Overall, there are some bright spots, but it kind of feels like the songs on this album have already been hashed out by the group. For a progressive group, the songs feel a bit, well, stale.

It kind of feels like this release is for those of you who have already been on the Transatlantic bandwagon. If you’ve enjoyed their past efforts, your bound to enjoy this one. Weirdly, they released two different versions of this album (I guess in the hope of getting uber-collectors to purchase both). There is the extended version called Forevermore which is a double album and then an abridged version called Breath of Life that is not only shorter in length, but also contains different versions of the songs that appear on Forevermore. I only purchased and listened to Forevermore and therefore, cannot comment on the quality of the abridged version.

3 flip flops out of 5

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