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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2014
Kaleidoscope is the 4th studio album from Prog super-group Transatlantic.
The first disc contains 5 new tracks while a bonus disc offers covers of other 'prog' and rock classic.
First off the quality of musicianship and production is uniformly excellent (and should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the players).

The album opens with the lengthy "Into the Blue". and closes with the even more lengthy "Kaleidoscope".
In the middle there are three shorter tracks (two of which "Shine" and "Beyond the Sun" are ballads)

Overall, I do like this album but it lacks something. Everyone is playing well within their comfort zone here and the songs are all pretty 'safe'. It would be unkind to describe the album as derivative, but it certainly doesn't plough any new furrows and for the most part lacks edge

The best song on the album is Black is The Sky - which romps along at a fair pace while still delivering enough keyboard, bass, guitar and drum virtuosity to satisfy.
The two ballads are also pretty decent .
It's the longer songs that somehow disappoint.
If for no other reason than they feel long - and Into the Blue seems like more a meander through collection of fragments than a coherent piece with a theme or direction.

All that said, Portnoy, Trewavas, Morse and Stolt are so obviously at ease playing together and such capable musicians in their own rights that even if this album isn't their best it is still well worth a listen.
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on 31 January 2014
I agree with other reviewers that this is exactly what we've come to expect from Transatlantic. That said Kaleidoscope is excellent. On the main album there isn't a duff track. The musicianship is first rate. Into The Blue has some classic 70's synth sounds and reminds me of Yes at their peak. The ballad Shine is gorgeous and ends too soon. The title track is an epic 33 minutes long and not a moment is wasted. If you like prog rock you'll love this.
The bonus disk is very good indeed. The covers of And You And I and Conquistador stand out and their workout on King Crimson's Indiscipline shows a band that's willing to take risks.
The vinyl package which is a triple LP set which also includes the both the CD and the bonus CD is good value, especially when you consider that the average price for a double LP these days is around £25 without an included CD. You still can't beat a gatefold LP sleeve and this one comes inside a slipcase with the bonus LP in its own sleeve. I also got a nice 3D postcard of the cover art thrown in too. Recommended.
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on 13 February 2014
I've now had some time with this album. It has all the usual TA ingredients: structured symphonic style epics, soaring melodies, superb singalong moments and top playing from all. This time I note in particular the tasteful synth playing, especially the use of mini moog and Hammond. There are no significant weak moments. I prefer the structure of this album to The Whirlwind. I find TA are best at 20-30 minute pieces with recurring themes and moods.

The influence of Neal Morse is strongest, but I always enjoy Roine Stolt's vocals and Portnoy's busy drums. The latter's familiar fills are there along with some more unusual moments.
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on 23 February 2014
1970s prog was the music I grew up with, and the first transatlantic album was a modern take on that genre: brilliant album. This one is a huge disappointment. There are bits from Genesis, ELP , Yes in there but it just doesn't hit the spot for me. The album had been getting good reviews in the Prog press so maybe its just me. Superb playing throughout is a given with these musicians. My advice would be to shorten the long songs: just because you can doesn't mean you have to: 32 mins of mediocre could be condensed to 15 mins of bril prog perhaps ?
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on 6 February 2014
Look, it was always going to be an impossible task following the sheer brilliance of The Whirlwind, an album I consider to be in my all time top 10. Maybe if they had tried some different ideas the outcome would have been better. But to go down the well trodden path with material that isn`t up to it just wasn`t going to work. Consequently Kaleidoscope fares very badly in comparison.

There are some very nice parts on the album, but not enough to outweigh the substandard majority so I am left with a feeling of extreme disappointment. Even the Morse ballad, Beyond The Sun, is a dirge. Bridge Across Forever, it ain`t. I found myself playing a game of "Heard this before" or "this sounds like" so many times. It really pains me to say these negative things, as I consider Neal Morse to be one of the best songwriters around.

So are the reviewers giving this album 5 stars really saying this is as good as the Whirlwind? Really? Oh, and one more thing. Please don`t let Pete Trewavas sing again. Ever.
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on 31 January 2014
The cd starts with a big epic of 25 minutes "Into the Blue" that contains all the trademarks of the band with a big symphonic sound, some nice vocals, a solid rhythm section, plenty of keyboards parts and some nice guitars soloing. The music goes from a fast tempo to some slower passages were Neal Morse brings the music to a high emotional level. Then the Flower Kings influence is still there with many instrumental breaks, a crescendo building and reaching a emotional peak. While this is not credited, Daniel Gildenlow brings his contributions in the vocal department like every musicians, and we are treated with a nice flute passage that gives a different mood to the music.

"Shine" is a ballad that put Neal Morse voice and the guitar of Roine Stolt in the spot. "Black As the Sky" show Stolt singing and some spectacular bass/drums/keyboards parts that is very original for the band usual style. This will probably be one of the best short songs in their career. "Beyond the Sun" is a nice short song with Neal singing and some beautiful Steve Howe kind of guitar parts from Roine. And then comes the 31 minutes epic that gets a heavier sound and many tempo changes going from slower passages and many moods and styles, some Pink Floyd vibe and some keyboards parts that sound like some jazz stuff of Chick Corea. The vocals parts of Neal at times gets the pop rock style of the 80's. This song has some darker moods, but it's always tempered with some light passages. The final section of the song brings again some unusual style of music from the band with some tasty keyboards parts.

This is another winner for Transatlantic, the songwriting, the musicianship and the production are top notch. All this with a special second cd of covers with a beautiful version of "And You And I" and a interesting choice of songs like "Indiscipline" (King Crimson) and "Sylvia" (Focus).
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VINE VOICEon 11 May 2014
I've had this for a few months and I think it's their best CD to date. All their works are genius but this one seems to raise things to another level. This despite the fact there are few surprises, as there were on the previous Whirlwind album. This is traditional Transatlantic, developing further the blueprint laid down with SMPTe. There are five distinct tracks, with only a couple of lines from the first track being reprised at the end of the second.

It is so positive and uplifting, I've never heard such a spiritual rock album. Neal Morse is a main contributor, and he manages to convey a feeling of optimism and hope without preaching to us, as he does on some of his solo albums. All four musicians are on top form, still at the top of their game.

The bonus covers CD is worth a listen, though it is only that. It depends partly I guess on whether we're familiar with the originals. I'm an ELO fan and love the cover of Can't Get It Out Of My Head.

The main CD is almost perfection in my mind, so much that it's pointless writing about slight disappointments. Make your own mind up, but do give it a try if you like uplifting rock music. Thanks guys.
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on 10 March 2014
Transatlantic, the band originally formed by Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy, including his great friend, Neal Morse of Spock's Beard, Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings and Marillion's bass master, Pete Trewavas, release another wonderful group of melodic and powerful progressive music songs to the growing masses who love people who can play and how.
The brilliant three disc version includes a long main album, a making of DVD and the most excellent covers disc including classics from Yes, ELO, Small Faces, Focus, Elton John and The Moody Blues. I would urge you to get this one!
A no-brainer for those who love interchangable themes and dramatic denouments in their grooves.
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on 28 January 2014
I really did not want to be the first to review this and reading the two reviews - SO FAR; I feel more comfortable with my opinion.
First off - I do not question the pedigree of the band. Who could? Top rank team.
Polished, accomplished and super slick.
But - is this becoming too formulaic?
Maybe I am changing - but I am starting to find it all a little bit tedious. Maybe I am tired of super slick 'perfection'?
Kaleidoscope is 'classic' Transatlantic - it sounds pretty much like it's predecessors - two lengthy tracks with three shorter ones in the middle.
The quality is there - and, the quantity; but it just seems to be wearing out; a bit too repetitive.
This will not endear me to the hoards of Transatlantic faithful but - sadly; it's how I feel.
The bonus CD - and I usually look forward to their covers, also seems below par. "And You And I" is okay - but "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", "Conquistador", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Tin Soldier" are not what I'd call complimentary.
With "Sylvia" - the Focus classic, the band sounds as if it is struggling a bit and King Crimson's "Indiscipline" is awful! "Nights In White Satin" finishes it all off in a reasonable fashion.
Sorry - it's okay. But I am not sure where I will go with Transatlantic from here - IF they ever make another album?
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on 30 April 2015
I have great trouble coming to grips with two extremely long songs on the one disc.A few edits to make the entire album around 50 minutes long would have made it a better product. There are some stunning passages in this album but not enough to give it another star.

Now the bonus material. Transatlantic do a fine job on all the covers with 'And You and I' being the stand out for me. This one track alone shows that a progressive rock track doesn't have to be 30 minutes long.
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