Teaming the talents of such heavyweight names as Deep Purple/Dixie Dregs/ex-Kansas guitarist Steve Morse, drummer Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, ex-Dream Theater), Neal Morse (Transatlantic, Spock’s Beard and a prolific solo artist), bass player Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and more) with a comparatively new talent, pop singer/songwriter Casey McPherson, the band challenged conventional wisdom about combining virtuoso music and melodic songwriting. Or, as the quintet’s modus operandi was once memorably defined by founder Bill Evans, ‘crafting new-fashioned music the old-fashioned way’.
Sporting stunning artwork from the legendary designer Hugh Syme (Rush, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Whitesnake) and bookended by two tracks of truly epic stature – ‘Open Up Your Eyes’ and the multiple-part ‘Cosmic Symphony’ – the album is every bit as breathtaking as the debut. Portnoy stresses that the music’s proggier path was “not conscious at all.” The drummer continues: “Direction was never even discussed. We just did what we do. I think perhaps not having a producer to ‘trim the fat’ possibly led to the songs breathing and expanding a bit more.” Perhaps Steve Morse sums things up best with the statement: “This is an album full of many layers. The more you listen, the more you can hear. It’s an album to keep listening to.”