Prog rock purists can just suffer, because when a prog rock band can write a cohesive album of songs (rather than forcing an audience to accept their 10-plus-minute epic songs and incessant noodling) it is a good thing. Widespread commercial acceptance does not equate with lesser quality and this album of 11-tight songs might just break out of the exclusive and sometimes snobby prog rock fanbase. Only three of these tunes clock in at over five-point-five minutes, so the songs have to concentrate on getting the listeners’ attention quick and keeping it occupied with crisp, short melodies and big, immediate hooks. While there are a few moments that wallow in the King Crimson, Caravan, early Yes wandering jams– like the 12-minute closer, “Infinite Fire” and the metal-bent “All Falls Down,” but for every one of those there’s two catchy songs like “Kayla,” “The Storm” and “Love is What I’m Waiting For,” with its complaining about everyday life and relationships in a common language not too unlike The Beatles. Here’s hoping that longtime musical luminaries in this band (Neal Morse, keyboards/vocals; his not-related bandmate Steve Morse, guitar; Casey McPherson, lead vocals; Dave Larue, bass; Mike Portnoy, drums) can drive this new musical vehicle to further places than any of them has experienced in previous bands. To do that would probably require another album with bigger hits, but this one’s a great start in that direction.
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