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Flying Colors - Flying Colors CD (album) cover

FLYING COLORS

Flying Colors

 

Prog Related

3.62 | 130 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Decent pop prog

After quitting Dream Theater and subsequently being refused to get back in the legendary progressive metal band, Mike Portnoy had to flex his music muscles in order to keep his career going, as there was no stable income for him as a musician anymore. So the side projects he wanted so eagerly to focus on instead of Dream Theater (one of the biggest reasons why he quit in the first place) became his sole form of creative output and, ironically, became his main projects.

With the help of his best prog friend forever, Neal Morse, Mike manage to put together a respectable group for this release which, in my opinion, sounds somewhat closer to what Liquid Tension Experiment would sound if Mike's initial plans for the band would have unfolded as he wished: impressive line-up but ultimately not-so- impressive compositions. In the case of Flying Colors, however, even though the songs aren't exceptional, groundbreaking or breathtaking as other reviewers have put here so eloquently, the songs are very well written and quite enjoyable as a whole. Actually, there was no plan at all to make anything groundbreaking; the sole objective was to write songs and see how it would come out, and, that considered, things turned out pretty good in my opinion.

As for the compositions themselves, they are quite varied throughout the album. Songs range from straight progressive pieces, such as the mini epic Blue Ocean and the epic Infinite Fire, (prog influenced) hard rock in songs like Shoulda Coulda Woulda, Forever in a Daze and All Falls Down, pop prog in Kayla, The Storm, Love Is What I'm Waiting For and Fool in My Heart and prog ballads in Everything Changes and Better than Walking Away.

There are inputs from every band member in every song, much like the other musical project of Portnoy's, such as Dream Theater, Transatlantic and Liquid Tension Experiment. However in some cases you can notice that some certain song had a lead writer, meaning that, even though everybody had their input, everybody added to the melting pot, somebody had the main ideas behind the song. This can be specially seen in the ballads (they have a distinct Neal Morse feeling to them), the Beatles-influenced songs (Portnoy has always mentioned the Beatles as being his most important musical influence; that coupled with the fact that he released a Beatles cover album in 2011 makes it all the more obvious) and the harder edged songs Shoulda Coulda Woulda and All Falls Down, where you can see that Steve Morse and Mike Portnoy are having their moment in the spotlight.

Still on the compositions, it is possible to see here that Mike seems to finally being able to put his stuff together as, so far, Flying Colors' self titled album is the best thing he managed to release himself after leaving Dream Theater. A planned future Transatlantic album may get the best of Flying Colors, but so far this is the most coherent and tight opus he released after 2010.

Rating and Final Thoughts

All in all, Flying Colors seems to be a very enjoyable piece of (mostly) pop prog rock, in spite of, in the big picture, providing us with a varied supply of musical styles throughout the record. Tight musicianship, interesting compositions, easily recognizable and satisfying songs, but also deeper than the usual pop variant of progressive rock, this album provides the listener with a journey through the various facets of less serious and more accessible progressive rock songwriting.

A word of advice, do not approach this album if you are expecting anything in the vein of any of the traditional or more famous bands from any of the Colours' members.

CCVP | 4/5 |

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