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SMPT:e

Transatlantic

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Album Review

The obvious label to put on this band is "supergroup," because it consists Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings, Neal Morse of Spock's Beard, Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, and Pete Trewavas of Marillion, but that would imply that this is just another jam session. Despite the fact that these gifted musicians put this session together rather quickly, there is a natural cohesiveness and maturity that would suggest that they have been playing together for years. In fact, it could be argued that as a collective work this is as good, if not better, than any of the aforementioned bands previous output. The influence of early progressive rock bands such as Yes and Genesis are obvious, as are the references to each member's "regular" band, but it is the influence of the Beatles, which is felt both musically and lyrically, that shines through the strongest. The opener "All of the Above" is a 30-minute epic that stands as some of the best progressive rock music ever written. The only two compositions under seven minutes are the uplifting "We All Need Some Light" and the whimsical "Mystery Train," which in an ideal world would both receive significant airplay (they didn't). "My New World" is another epic and is the most obvious nod to the Beatles, while "In Held (Twas In I)" is a cover of the Procol Harum classic. The lyrics are intelligent and thoughtful without being pompous and the music is challenging and tight without being gratuitous. A progressive rock masterpiece.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment) had a brainstorm that gave birth to the band Transatlantic. He envisioned a band of himself, Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning). As it turned out, Morse was available, but Matheos was not. Morse came up with the idea of recruiting Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) instead, and all that was left was a bassist. Portnoy contacted Marillion's Pete Trewavas and the group was set. They recorded and released their first album,...
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SMPT:e, Transatlantic
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