TRANSATLANTIC – ‘Kaleidoscope’
(Out Now on InsideOut)
LIKE TERRY BUSH ONCE SAID…“there’s a voice that keeps on calling me, down the road, that’s where I’ll always be. Every stop I make, I make a new friend. Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again”. Rock’s littlest hobo, Mike Portnoy appears to be going through a midlife crisis, seemingly driven by a need to contribute to one-off recordings before wandering off again and popping up on someone else’s adjustable drum stool.
Having already contributed to recent releases from Avenged Sevenfold, Adrenaline Mob, Winery Dogs, Flying Colurs and Bigelf since departing Dream Theater, Portnoy now drops into the mysterious Prog sprawl of the latest supergroup Transatlantic. Featuring Neal Morse from Spocks Beard, Marillion’s Pete Trewavas and Flower King’s Roine Stolt, suffice to say this five track ‘LP’ isn’t short on excessive theatrics – the opening and closing tracks are each over 25 minutes long. Never Mind the Bollox this is not. For all its pretentious bombast and elongated musing, Kaleidoscope takes in a myriad of classic Rock styles and signatures with overtly progressive flourishes akin to the obvious hippie Space-Rock acts Hawkwind and Ozric Tentacles; serving to charm and chafe in equal measure.
Kaleidoscope is probably Portnoy’s lightest and most ludicrous release to date, but I do confess to listening to the whole thing end to end; more out of expectation than curiosity, its impish star-gazing strangely stirring. We don’t expect a top ten chart entry with this one though, nor will it appeal to Rock-heads and mosh-heads out there; not one bit. But anyone into the showy and grandiose will probably be reaching straight for their shoulder pads and knee length glitter boots. And rightly so. (6)