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FLYING COLORS

Flying Colors

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Flying Colors Flying Colors album cover
3.62 | 130 ratings | 12 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Blue Ocean (7:05)
2. Shoulda Coulda Woulda (4:32)
3. Kayla (5:20)
4. The Storm (4:53)
5. Forever in a Daze (3:56)
6. Love is What I'm Waiting For (3:36)
7. Everything Changes (6:55)
8. Better Than Walking Away (4:57)
9. All Falls Down (3:22)
10. Fool in My Heart (3:48)
11. Infinite Fire (12:02)

Total time: 60:26


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

-Mike Portnoy (Drums, Percussion, Vocals)
-Casey McPherson (Vocals, Guitar)
-Steve Morse (Guitar)
-Dave LaRue (Bass)
-Neal Morse (Vocals, Keyboards)


Releases information

2012 Mascot Label Group

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Mascot Records 2014
Audio CD$10.00
Flying ColorsFlying Colors
Mascot Records 2012
Audio CD$8.23
$6.70 (used)
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Mascot Records 2013
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$6.88 (used)
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Mascot Records 2014
Vinyl$22.98
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Victor Japan
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FLYING COLORS Flying Colors ratings distribution


3.62
(130 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(20%)
20%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

FLYING COLORS Flying Colors reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars So we have yet another super group and another band that Mike Portnoy is in? Well, yes that is a fact and those of you that enjoy great rock music of all sorts should be rejoicing right now because a classic album is waiting to hit those starved ear drums and to relieve you of all the garbage that is out there on the internet and radio. This relief comes in the form of the new band Flying Colors. The members are Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Steve Morse (guitar), Dave LaRue (bass) and Casey McPherson (lead vocals).

For those of you that are not familiar with the members in this band, everyone has impressive resumes. Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Avenged Sevenfold), Neal Morse (Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, Solo), Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple, Solo) and Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band) have a lot in common and are no strangers when it comes to their music and who they have played with. Casey McPherson seems to be the odd man out, but wait! It sounds like he has been with this group of players for quite some time after you listen to the album and he was indeed the perfect fit for this project.

Now you are probably thinking who is Casey McPherson? I have a feeling once this album catches on, and it will mind you and very quickly, you will be hearing that name more often. One listen to 'Kayla' and the range this guy has will serve as a welcome mat to any listener. His sweet yet powerful vocals set the tone for their music. He had an album out for Disney in 2010 titled New Morning that debuted in the Top 5 on two Billboard Charts. He is also from a band called Alpha Rev, and he was recommended by who else but Mike Portnoy. I think Mike should start his own label and hand pick talent, groom them, produce them, and then distribute their albums worldwide. He certainly has a knack for it. He did a lot of that when he was running the Progressive Nation Tours, and very successfully.

This self-titled release has a little bit of everyone in the music which means that stylistically you will hear just about everything. Now think about that for a moment. All the influences and talents of each band member colliding in the studio to bang out 11 tracks of glorious rock' or should I say they are flying their colors. That sounds exciting and it is, every second of it is charged with energy, outstanding musicianship and finely crafted songs ranging from over 3 to 12 minutes. So what you end up hearing is a steaming cauldron of rock, pop, progressive, funk, etc. over the course of this recording. All eleven tracks are excellent. With a lineup such as this that is what you expect but super groups do not always work out very well. I think what you have here is a bunch of ultra-talented guys having fun and allowing the magic to happen without personality or ego issue getting in the way.

You get that kicked back relaxed atmosphere feeling right from the start with 'Blue Ocean' when it kicks off with some comfortable studio banter that leads you into the track. LaRue begins it with a 'walk across the floor' bass line that sets the stage. After that song runs its course the realization that you are in for something special takes hold and fortunately never lets go. This is a made for radio hit if I ever heard one but we all know that will never happen because corporate radio has blinders on. 'Shoulda Coulda Woulda' is an all out rocker with fat power chords sparking from Morse's guitar then Portnoy and LaRue lay down the juggernaut bottom end that takes it all for a musical rollercoaster ride. What I found a real treat was hearing McPherson sing (he reminded me of Sixx: A.M.'s James Michael) and Neal Morse offering his signature vocals to the mix as well. It turns out to be a very successful partnership and appealing sound that holds firm throughout the run of the CD.

One of the pleasant surprises of the album is Portnoy taking over the lead vocals on 'Fool In My Heart.' This is a very good track and although Portnoy is no McPherson and never will be, he does a fine job with the song. It actually seems like a perfect fit. Is this a song about himself or someone he knows possibly? One never knows about these things but in any case it really is an enjoyable track.

Fittingly the band ends with the prog rock monster track 'Infinite Ride' which takes 12:02 minutes. It leaves you feeling that the more you listen to this music the more it feels like the title of the track. I really hope this is not going to be a one off recording. I mean this is one of the best albums for variety and talent I have heard in quite some time. Yes the self-titled Flying Colors is destined to be hailed as a classic right out the gate. Let's hope that this is just the beginning of this exciting new band.

Key Tracks: ALL

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Posted Friday, June 29, 2012

Review by Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Admin / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars As a loyal Dream Theater fan, I was immediately excited when Mike Portnoy first hinted at the idea of this project around 2009 if I recall correctly. This was before there was any sign of Portnoy leaving Dream Theater, so for the most part this idea was put on the back burner for a while. When that sudden dramatic turn of events did occur in September of 2010, the sprinklings of news about this mysterious project involving Neal Morse, Dave LaRue, and Steve Morse became more and more frequent. It wasn't really until late 2011 that it was announced as a "serious" project under the moniker Flying Colors. At this point, I was incredibly excited for the project, expecting a fantastic medley of symphonic prog and jazz fusion from the "Transatlantic camp" and "Dixie Dregs camp" as Portnoy called it.

However, when the promo video came out which, as far as I know, announced Casey McPherson as a new aspect of the project, I was now more intrigued than excited. With a pop singer at the band's helm, I now expected an incredibly strong crossover prog album to emerge from the studio. The first samples seemed promising, with, as I expected, a strong fusion of progressive elements and very accessible melody lines. I patiently awaited the album's release, and when it did, I got quite a shock when first listening.

Some tried to call this album crossover prog when it first came out just as I had expected it to be. If that descriptor stayed, it would have been the most extreme and watered-down case of crossover I've seen since Bjork. In more accurate terms, this album is progressive pop. The prog elements brought by the four instrumentalists are obvious, but the accessible elements brought by Casey and no doubt Mike as well are quite apparent. The melodies are pop-rock material; the vocals are emotive in a pop way; and many of the instrumental parts, while having a prog aspect, are dominated by pop rock chord structures and "traditional" arrangements.

Of course, all these pop references make this album incredibly catchy and well-presentable to the more standard rock fans. However, to a prog listener, I can't say I was terribly keen on many of the tracks on the album like "Shoulda Coulda Woulda" (an interesting track title to begin with), "Kayla," "The Storm," "Love is What I'm Waiting For," and others. While the closer "Infinite Fire" seems to be what I was expecting for the rest of the album with killer classic Spock's Beard-esque bass lines, precision drumming, and nice vocal harmonies and chord structures across the 12-minute epic, the preceding 48-minutes isn't at bright.

Don't get me wrong - this album isn't "bad" per se. If you're looking for a very high quality pop rock album that has more going for it than your standard pop rock album, look no further. The songs are, in their own respect, well put together, incredibly catchy, and "nice sounding." Granted a pretty thick layer cheese coats practically every riff on the album and most of the melodies are incredibly sugary, but if that kind of stuff suits you this album pulls it off quite well.

In the end, this album is good for those looking for some proggy pop rock, but bad for those expecting the tasty proggy fusion that probably should have come out of a collaboration with the four instrumentalists in all their glory. While the album has its bright spots, the album was overall a huge disappointment. The keyboards are distant and quiet in the mix, Steve Morse's blues-tinged riffs are terribly watered down for the most of the songs, and the potential for Dave LaRue's epic basslines and Mike Portnoy's killer drum lines seem to have been cut short except for in a few songs like "Forever in a Daze" and "Infinite Fire." Overall, though, the music is high quality in its progressive pop bearings, but not much else. It'll be interesting to see if the band makes another album and if they do how the music will progress, if it does. Be warned if you are expecting a full out prog album. 2+ stars.

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Posted Friday, June 29, 2012

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With a star-studded lineup of progressive rock veterans and a talented young frontman, the debut effort from American supergroup Flying Colors quickly became one of my most anticipated releases of 2012. The premise behind this project was rather interesting - putting a pop singer alongside virtuoso instrumentalists is bound to produce interesting results, and Flying Colors is certainly a unique album, especially considering what may be expected from the musicians involved. The presence of members and ex-members of Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, Dream Theater, Deep Purple, and Dixie Dregs would lead me to expect something in the jazzy progressive metal spectrum, but the album instead sounds like a meeting ground between alternative rock, hard rock, and modern progressive rock. Although a few aspects of the album may have fallen a bit short of my expectations, Flying Colors still stands as a very fun and impressive listen.

For those unfamiliar with Flying Colors, this project was conceived by producer Bill Evans in 2008 with the intention to create 'new-fashioned music the old fashioned way'. This idea eventually evolved into Flying Colors - a band consisting of Mike Portnoy on drums, Dave LaRue on bass, Neal Morse on keyboards and vocals, Casey McPherson on lead vocals, and Steve Morse on guitar. If you're anything like me, your 'prog senses' should've immediately started to tingle as you read that lineup - and rightfully so. This is a supergroup of truly monumental proportions, but as it turns out, this fact is a bit of a two-fold. On one hand, you'll most certainly be treated to top-notch and highly professional musicianship, but on the other hand, many listeners may have unreasonably high expectations. I think I went into Flying Colors expecting a masterpiece on par with the best material from Spock's Beard or Dream Theater, and while this isn't the case, I don't think that was the intention of the musicians either.

Flying Colors is deliberately different from any of its members' main projects - the listener here will be treated to an interesting mix between alternative rock-influenced melodies, heavy riffs, and progressive rock flourishes. Although Flying Colors would not sound out of place in the collection of a fan of classic progressive rock, it's a much more 'modern' sounding effort than anything you may have expected from the musicians involved. This is a very melodic, song-oriented album that brings groups like Muse to mind, but the bluesy guitar flourishes and proggy outbursts do set Flying Colors apart from anything else I can think of. While the album may not be flawless, I do think that the musicians attempted something unexpected with this project, and they did so with a pretty good hit-miss ratio.

Where Flying Colors feels a bit too much like a 'side-project', however, is in the songwriting department. Although the entire album is certainly well-written from an objective point of view, Flying Colors rarely aims for the level of excellence that one may expect from this observation. Apart from the energetic opener "Blue Ocean", which features some spectacular vocal melodies, and the brilliant closing epic "Infinite Fire", most of the album feels rather safe and homogenous to these ears. That's not to say that this is a poor record by any stretch - actually, the vast majority of the album is quite good (though I could've easily done without the banal pop melodies in "Fool In My Heart"). Flying Colors simply lacks the brilliance that one would expect from such a project, and while there may not be much to complain about apart from the rather predictable melodies, I can't say I was blown away by the debut effort from Flying Colors.

Flying Colors simply feels like a lot of missed potential to me - if the band expanded a bit more upon their strengths (like the jazzy guitar sections, hard rocking riffs, and progressive song structures) and left behind some of the decidedly homogenous pop melodies, this debut could've felt a lot more worthwhile in my eyes. That said, a lot of this is a matter of personal preference, and I know quite a few folks who enjoyed this one more than I did. Flying Colors is an interesting experiment with some untapped potential, but with a bit more refinement, I could see this collective producing some excellent music in the future. Let's hope that we get to hear more from this quintet in the coming years!

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Posted Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Definitly, it took me some time to fully enjoy this album. The first impression this "supergroup" gave me was not a good one. After all, with such lumionaries from prog, prog metal and even jazz, the music here sounds a little too pop and modern to any proghead, at least at first. Still I insisted and kept listening, and started liking it more and more. Ok, it is still very different from any work I can remember seeing ex Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy involved in (and also from Steve Morse for that matter). Pop singer Casey McPherson gives the modern edge the band needed to make something that really stands. However, the instrumental parts are absolutely brilliant. Well, what else to expect from a band reuniting Portnoy, Morse and Neal Morse (ex Spock´s Beard) plus ex Dixie Dregs bassist Dave LaRue? I know several of such projects do not work all that well, but this one is an exception.

Granted: the music here is different, more accessible and even funkier than what we might expect, but no less complex and rich. The wide range of influences will puzzle even the most eclectic listener, going from Queen to Red Hot Chilli Peppers, plus several others. And what comes from this CD is a surprising varied, yet coherent and beautiful, collection of great songs. It´s hard to believe those guys have been playing for such little time before recording this album. Everything works here: the performances are superb, the production is crystal clear, the songwriting is very strong and versatile. While some tracks are better than others, none is bad or weak (due the varying styles present your choice of the best material is a matter of personal taste, really). Although the songs are way too varied to chose a real highlight, I must point out the last track, Infinite Fire. This 12 minute epic is surely the most progressive tune on the whole CD and surely will please even the most demanding prog fan: terrific guitar parts, soaring keyboards (including fine Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ solos) and a very eclectic rhythm section that reeks of the best fusion since the 70´s. I really hope next time they reunite they´ll focus their songwriting skills on more songs like this one.

I really loved this album although it will annoy some radicals for its pop prog tendencies and modern production. However, if you like progressive music in the true sense of the word, this is a great album to listen to. Rating: 4 strong stars.

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Posted Monday, October 08, 2012

Review by 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.

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Send comments to CCVP (BETA) | Report this review (#855415) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars I must admit, when I first heard this album I was extremely disappointed. A group consisting of Dixie Dregs' guiarist Steve Morse (along with his long-time bassist Dave LaRue), former Spock's Beard front man Neal (no relation) Morse, and Mike Portnoy should be a prog fan's dream. But creating deep progressive music wasn't the aim of this band.

Luckily, I waited months before submitting a review. Shelving the album after a few weeks in my rotation, I returned to the disk, and have come away with a somewhat better opinion of the songs.

There are three tracks that seem to reference the three primary members, and their history. Blue Ocean, despite an unmemorable vocal track, seems to represent the Dixie Dregs. LaRue provides a smooth Dreg-like bassline, while Morse plays some tasteful licks. All Falls Down, a prog metal piece, feels like a nod toward Portnoy's famous history. And Infinite Fire plays like a Spock's Beard epic. If these three tracks indicated the direction of the entire album, this could have been one of the albums of the year.

But alas, the remaining eight tracks are good rock songs, with occasional slight hints of the musicians' pedigree. They are fine listenable rock tunes, but my feeling is that the band is striving too hard to be radio friendly. Unfortunately for them, there is not enough plastic in their sound for modern corporate radio to give them any notice.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#874454) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 10, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars There seems to be quite a spread of opinion on this album. Some think it's great, others are not impressed. Myself, I'm in the former camp. It could possibly be the best album of 2012 for me (though Neal Morse's Momemtum runs it close). Virtually all of the songs are winners in my book, though ... (read more)

Report this review (#1039007) | Posted by AlanB | Thursday, September 19, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Flying Colors is inconsistent. Most of the songs have nothing "wrong" with them, but they left me utterly bored and unengaged, despite the strong technical skill in the supergroup. There are some moments in the music that become interesting, but overall this album is a very formulaic rock album, u ... (read more)

Report this review (#976687) | Posted by Earendil | Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 8/10 I think deep down in his heart, Neal Morse always wanted to do an entire album for the pop- rock/prog-related. With his new supergroup, Flying Colors, he can do it without guilt. Many may be disappointed with the end result of the meeting between him, Mike Portnoy and Steve Morse, but l ... (read more)

Report this review (#884636) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, December 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Nothing you'd expect from a prog supergroup, yet still incredibly satisfying. I was stoked when I first heard about the new prog project called Flying Colors. How could I not be? Some of the biggest names in the progosphere were collaborating in a never- before seen lineup, and the implication ... (read more)

Report this review (#794600) | Posted by senor_velasco | Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When this first came out, there was a bit of a [&*!#]storm about it. A lot of people were annoyed that it wasn't as 'prog' as they wanted it to be, but rather more of an Alt-Rock album with prog moments, normally coming from Neal Morse. Throughout most of the forum discussions, I was sort of ... (read more)

Report this review (#779560) | Posted by Gallifrey | Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This website is so typical at times. So I listened to the album...weeks before the album is added to the site. Now I have to do a review completely from memory (although it should be easy enough). Ever since Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater, he has been jumping to band and projects like a flea s ... (read more)

Report this review (#779515) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Friday, June 29, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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