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VINE VOICEon February 1, 2016
The music on this 2000 release is very cheery, uplifting stuff. It’s completely over-the-top stadium rock mind you, but still undeniably happy and bubbly. Although I tend to gravitate towards the darker stuff, the tunes on this debut had me humming and tapping my foot. I generally thought the album was OK – after all, it’s nice to have some mindless optimism once in a while.

The members that comprise Transatlantic come from other groups including the heavy metal group Dream Theater (drummer Mike Portnoy); the neo-prog/soft adult contemporary rock outfit Marillion (bassist Pete Trewavas; and the neo-prog/stadium rock groups Flower Kings (guitarist Roine Stolt) and Spocks Beard (singer/keyboardist Neal Morse). I generally like Dream Theater and Marillion, but don’t care much for either the Flower Kings or Spocks Beard.

The overall sound of this album is very much in line of what you might expect from 1996-2000 era Spocks Beard – yes Neal Morse is all over this album. There is an overly long 30-minute song-cycle that kicks the album off, along with a power ballad (We all Need some Light), another shorter track “Mystery Train” and a cover of the old 17 minute-long Procol Harum tune “In Held ‘Twas in I”. Neal Morse wrote most of the music, with Roine Stolt contributing the 16-minute track My New World.

Melodies are everywhere. This is the one thing that keeps me coming back to this album. The musicianship is also really good, although I think Mike Portnoy overplays sometimes. Then again, he lends the music some serious “punch” and “oomph”. The lyrics are atrocious and much to my horror, Roine Stolt is allowed to sing on one tune, with Mike Portnoy sneaking in some terrible backing vocals on the last track. They probably should have just let Neal sing on the whole album.

The sound quality on this album is fantastic, as is the production quality. The CD comes with a color booklet with lyrics, some photos of the group playing, and the recording credits.

All in all, this is a well-recorded album played by professional and seasoned musicians. I generally liked the melodies and the overall “cheeriness” of the album. The music, however, does not really resonate with me – I prefer an artier and darker sound.
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on December 14, 2013
I bought this because I like Spock's Beard/Neal Morse and also because I've heard Mystery Train on Pandora and like the song. The first three songs had Neal Morse written all over them so I liked them. The fourth song had to grow on me but, after it did, I really liked it. At first I didn't like Roine Stolt's voice (he sings a lot on that song) but his voice grew on me. I'm thinking he wrote most of the song. I recently bought "Back in the World of Adventures" by The Flower Kings and hearing that makes me think he wrote most of "My New World" (the aforementioned fourth song). The final song (a Procol Harum remake) is ok but I think they could have left it off the CD because there was already enough material on it, and I don't think the song is as good as the others. So if you listen up to that song, this is a five star album. I will not subtract any stars because, as I said, there is enough music for a CD without that last song. And those four songs are all great!

"We All Need Some Light" could have been a hit (like a lot of Morse's songs) but as usual it was not. "Mystery Train" might have also been one. Even though some of it is a little strange it still has a nice hook during the chorus.

Like a lot of Spock's Beard CD's, Morse includes songs that could be hits along with long prog rock pieces. Actually a lot of the prog rock pieces have hooks in them too. The man can write hooks!

So if you don't mind a couple of (sort of) mainstream songs along with a great couple of long prog songs, you'll like this. That is - if you like Neal Morse/Spock's Beard.
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on March 29, 2002
This free-flowing, prog-rock masterpiece should please anyone who will settle for listening to a classic sound that they have probably heard before. The prog-rock critics - well, sit and be proud that you are NOT the only ones that might recognize this.
SMPTE's debut effort is filled with sound, a sound that brings one back to yesteryears of Yes and ELP, however infusing enough of today's 'sound' to bridge prog-rock nostalgia and present a symphonic blend of prog-rock with an edge to make the tired sound a new one.
I was immediately drawn to the 'Close to the Edge' beginning of 'All of the Above', and from whence it started, I was hooked on these guys. There is total respect paid to the classic prog rock hooks and sounds throughout, and the best part is that you feel truly 'lifted' after listening to it (cannot say that about many songs these days).
Transatlantic is MAGIC - put in in your collection today!
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on April 26, 2011
What rock was I under when this band came out? I realize this was merely a side project for it's members but I feel left out. I've been a Mike Portnoy fan for years listening to Dream Theater but it wasn't until I recently read their biography, Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater, that I first heard of Transatlantic. HELLO! I own Liquid Tension Experiment 1 being a huge Tony Levin fan but sadly I had to stumble onto this stuff on my own. I used to listen to Marillion back in the 90's but Spock's Beard and Flower Kings were new names to me upon learning where the other members came from. If you like prog try these guys out for a new sound. Blew me away the first time so I of course had to rent their DVD from Netflix too. To me its like ELP/Yes/Queen/Jethro Tull minus the flute. But then again I love huge keyboards and odd time signatures, the hallmarks of progressive rock. You can even hear some Beatles influence here and there. Very talented players. I wouldn't hesitate recommending them to any fan of good old prog. I wish there were more than just the 2 albums. But with Mike Portnoy's recent split with Dream Theater in 2010 who knows?
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on March 25, 2014
I'd put off buying this, as I was a little wary of the "supergroup" thing. However, in a very short space of time, this has become the disc that never leaves my car CD player. There's the obvious brilliant musicianship, but there's also a quirky sense of humour running through this album. The comparisons with all the standard prog bands can be made (Yes, Floyd, etc) but it never becomes too derivative, rather, it seems like the band is giving a deliberate nod to their influences along the way without ever copying them outright. Just buy it.
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on January 24, 2002
Transatlantic is a true supergroup, boasting no less than four of the finest musicians the world has to offer at present: Mike Portnoy, the monster drummer for the U.S.'s Dream Theater...Neal Morse, vocalist and keyboard player for the U.S.'s Spock's Beard...Pete Trewavas, the fluid and melodic (and highly underrated!) bass player for England's Marillion...and Roine Stolt, guitarist/vocalist for Sweden's The Flower Kings.
This massive CD (packed with nearly 78 minutes of sonic delights!) offers an uplifting selection of music that begins with the 30-minute epic "All of the Above" and ends with the Procol Harum chestnut "In Held (Twas) In I." The former is much more enjoyable than the latter, but sandwiched in between is some of the finest progressive rock played today. Or any day for that matter.
HOWEVER, there's one big caveat to this band. If you don't care much for Spock's Beard, then you probably won't like Transatlantic too much. Neal Morse's fingerprint is all over Transatlantic. Not only does it boast his unmistakable voice, but his songwriting/arranging talents are also superimposed over everything on this disc. The chord structures, time changes, even the lyrics are extremely similar to Spock's Beard.
I agree with other reviewers. Transatlantic singlehandedly revived my interest in progressive music. I was getting bored with it all, frankly. Especially Marillion. And I had never heard of The Flower Kings. When Transatlantic hit the stores, I soaked it up like a dry sponge tossed into a bathtub.
And I got into Dream Theater again.
And I discovered The Flower Kings.
And I re-discovered Marillion.
And I enjoyed Spock's Beard in a new way.
In short, with Transatlantic, I got interested in FIVE bands because of one CD. I've spent a fortune tracking down all the group's various CDs (trust me; if it hadn't been for Amazon I probably would have failed in the attempt)...and countless weeks and months enjoying them all.
All because of one CD: Transatlantic's debut.
There's something extremely magical about Transatlantic. Even the album's cover graphics are first-rate. And, as I said, it renewed my interesting in so many other bands that I had taken for granted (or just didn't know about) previous to the release of this supergroup's CD.
If you've found yourself becoming bored with music lately, if you'd like a great intro to modern-day prog rock, if you'd just like to see what all the buzz is about, pick up a copy of Transatlantic's debut (alternately called SMPT:E for Stolt, Morse, Portnoy and TrEwavas). The musicianship is exceptional. The recording quality is first-rate. And it's worthy of repeated listenings. In fact, it requires repeated listenings because of everything going on in this CD. You simply can't appreciate it all with just one or two listenings.
I really hope Transatlantic sticks around a while and not lasts just two albums like Portnoy's Liquid Tension Experiment did. Transatlantic is special indeed. Partly because it's obvious all of these musicians enjoy working together. Because they're having fun we, the listeners, are having fun, too.
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on December 30, 2000
These "supergroup" projects are always tough; will it be creative genius melding with creative genius to produce a masterpiece, or merely clashing egos that grind out cheap filler? Thankfully, Transatlantic does not adhere to the latter, though I would not call this album a masterpiece. It is quite good, however. Being a large fan of Dream Theater, Spocks Beard, and The Flower Kings, I had high expectations for this album. All three represented members give good performances,. Mike Portnoy continues here to show his drumming genius, but he's not as busy playing-wise as he often is in DT, he tries a variety of subtler approaches here and to great effect. Neal Morse shows that he is one of the best singers going in Prog, while also laying out some tasty keyboard work. Roine Stolt turns in a terrific performance as well, while also playing heavier here than he usually does in FK. What about Pete Trevawas, you say? Well, I'm ashamed to say I've never heard Marillion. Thus, his outstanding chops displayed on this album surprised me pleasantly (epsecially on All of the Above). The aforementioned track is the centerpiece and highlight of the album, it features chops-heavy instrumental sections (that at times sound uncannily like Yes) and concludes with a masterful guitar solo from Stolt. Other highlights include the Morse-penned We All Need Some Light which is a more unique tune that doesn't sound like Yes or Genesis (not to mention DT, Spocks, and FK... or Marillion either, I'd be willing to guess). The Procol Harum cover, In Held (Twas) In I is as pretentious as it's name (that's a good thing). Just one question, who does the voiceover at the front of the track? Overall, I'd reccommend this album to any fan of the bands represented or anyone who's looking for something akin to 70's Yes in the current prog scene.
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on May 18, 2000
Oo-oops! It's a good thing everything else in this "temp staff" album is so great. "Held" is a technically proficient but anticlimactic cover of that old Procol Harum classsic. They do so much messing around with intros and interludes by way of stretching them out that they left out a key theme; "Twas Teatime At the Circus", a sardonic look at the way audiences feel compelled to applaud whether what's onstage satisfies them or not--"but everyone else is clapping...". One point of interest is that leader Neal Morse sings the second soliloquy rather than speaking it. Another is that I think this is the first time the lyrics have been provided in print. As for the rest of the album, to paraphrase Meatloaf, "Four out of five ain't bad". With the way Morse domintes this set, it's almost like having an extra Spock's Beard album. And we also discover that Morse apparently has more "magnum opus" material than his main band can absorb. You can see that anyway by the fact that there's another such number on his solo album. I can't see the rest of S-B going for the half-hour "All Of The Above" that's the centerpiece of this album. After listening to this one, I'm beginning to become more confident that the "new generation" of prog might not be just a passing fad.
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on March 13, 2002
What do you get when you take musicians from Flower Kings, Dream Theater, Dixie Dreggs and put them together? You get something unparalled like this offering, SMPTe is a beautiful, well made offering than I never tire of listening to - each time I hear (and appreciate more) this CD. The compositions are reminiscient of music when it was something more than simply 'thump' music. The transitions in offerings such as the 30 minute "ALL OF THE ABOVE" take the listener on a musical journey that's as sweet as it gets. I'm an older fan of such bands as Yes, ELP, Nektar, Hawkwind, and others that were regarded as 'Progressive' in their day. This brings much of the facets appreciated from those bands back and lets me know that there is still art in music and that it's not just a total sellout. If you appreciate 'art' or progressive type rock, I think you'll find this a wonderful addition to your collection. If you're interested in exploring the 'still alive and well' progressive rock movement and want to know where to start - You couldn't choose a better place than right here - beautiful stuff !!! Well done.
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on February 15, 2002
OK, I only gave it four starts because I require a CD to be good years from now before I give it 5 stars. None the less, this is one seriously good piece of work.
The opening piece "All of the Above" is the first thing I've heard in years that gets up to the level of "Close To The Edge" or "The Gates of Delirium" which were possibly the peak of Yes's work in the extended length pieces, in my opinion. The quality of the melodies, the overall structure of the song, is really amazing. At nearly 31 minutes long, I must have listened to this piece 6 or 8 times in the last week and it's getting better for me. That's a good sign.
The rest of the CD, except for the Procol Harum cover "In Held (Twas) In I" are strong and listenable, although "Mystery Train" seems out of place here, to me. That said, I'm starting to like it a bit better than my first few listens.
All in all, give this CD a chance, if for no other reason than one really strong long piece and some other music that is quite good.
Cheers.
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