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Transatlantic's The Absolute Universe: not one technically flawless concept album, but two

Acclaimed proggers Transatlantic go for broke on fifth album The Absolute Universe

Transatlantic: The Absolute Universe
(Image: © Insideoutmusic)

Not content with this 90-minute double album, Transatlantic have also recorded a 60-minute version of completely different recordings of the same songs, changing lyrics, vocalists et al. 

It’s also a concept album, concerning the world’s struggles in 2020. If you’ve ever wondered what a prog supergroup would do during a pandemic, here’s your answer, with full theses, dissertations and annotation.

And so, as the title hints, Neal Morse, Roine Stolt, Mike Portnoy and Pete Trewavas take us on a journey through the tropes of modern, technically flawless AOR-tinted prog, the playing proficient, the soul of it elusive. 

It’s a generous, abundant offering for loyal fans, but the casual listener might wish the band would more frequently twist instead of stick.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.