Neal Morse has returned to his musical roots. It’s time to celebrate!
I really enjoy Mr. Morse’s work, from “The Light” to “Testimony”, no matter where his inspiration is coming from and with whom he is channeling it with. Yes, there are some that are better than others, but on the whole this man can really put it together. “One” has brought Mr. Morse back to where he was in his groove with Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic. Where “Snow” and “Testimony” are enjoyable, they lack cohesiveness and I personally find them challenging to listen to. “V”, “SMTP:e” and “Bridge Across Forever” have it all together, start to finish. “One” is in this league.
What separates him from others, prog and non-prog, is his Beatles influence. He wears it proudly and is not afraid to let it show often. That’s what keeps his epics together. Each movement is just long enough to get the point across and leave the listener begging for more instead of waiting for the song to end already. Mike Portnoy is a big help in this area. He’s probably the only person around who can tell Neal Morse when it’s “enough”.
Don’t let the Christian label turn you off to this work. Take it in for the whole package that it is. I don’t feel that he is out to preach to anyone, saying his life or way is better than yours or mine. He writes how he feels, which is what it’s all about. This isn’t you’re typical, candy-a**ed dude strumming a guitar and singing praise to God and Jesus and Heaven with people sitting around him staring up with blank stares on the faces looking like they took one too many hits of Xanax. This is progressive rock.