Like most prog rock efforts, the themes are deep and perplexing, but in contrast to a confusing album like Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a little bit of effort clearly reveals what ? is all about. The words are poetic, yet biblically informed, and the booklet cites Scripture references throughout the lyrics. Thus, we've an album that's both artsy and evangelical, appealing to both Christian and non-Christian prog rock enthusiasts even more so than Testimony and One. It can still be hard to follow since the movements occasionally swing back and forth between unworthiness and acceptance, rather than adhering to a clearly established journey, but perhaps this was done to pace things stylistically.

All of this performed by a band that's somewhat less orchestrated and produced than Morse's previous two albums, relying on the traditional prog rock base of guitars, keyboards, and rhythm to more closely evoke classic Kansas and Yes. The musicianship remains breathtaking with Morse's amazing vocals, guitars, and keys at the core, surrounded by the equally impressive drums of Mike Portnoy and bass of Randy George. The album also features such guest prog rock luminaries as Steve Hackett (original guitarist for Genesis), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and Neal's brother Alan (from their band, Spock's Beard).

Still, I miss the pop feel of Morse's previous two albums, which helped make his music sound a little more timeless. This album seems slightly more dated because of the overall flow of the music, the style of the instrumental solos, and dated effects like the talking guitar sound made famous by Peter Frampton. So unless you're already a fan of classic progressive rock, chances are you won't easily latch on to this one as easily as others. Yet even if ? may not be quite as enjoyable as Morse's past work, it's unquestionably admirable for its artistic and spiritual merits.

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