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FLYING COLORS

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Flying Colors biography
Producer Bill EVANS had a vision of creating a rock band. Initially, EVANS put together Steve MORSE and Dave LARUE (of the DIXIE DREGS), Neal MORSE (of SPOCK'S BEARD), Mike PORTNOY (of DREAM THEATER) and producer Peter COLLINS, with the vision of a virtuoso band fronted by a pop singer to create accessible yet complex songs. Despite looking at over 100 well known pop singers, PORTNOY suggested that they bring in pop singer Casey MCPHERSON (of ALPHA REV). Well known musicians Kerry LIVGREN (of KANSAS) and Brian WILSON (of THE BEACH BOYS) were also asked to participate but were unfortunately unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts. In nine days in January 2011, FLYING COLORS crafted the foundation of their first album. After a second and final session in March, the band brought in Michael Brauer (who had worked with Bob DYLAN, THE ROLLING STONES, COLDPLAY and John MAYER) to mix the album. The result is an energetic and eclectic rock album from some of progressive rock's most renown musicians.

Also, some of the members evidently watched Family Guy during the sessions.

:::Epignosis:::

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Buy FLYING COLORS Music


Second NatureSecond Nature
Mascot Records 2014
Audio CD$15.98
Flying ColorsFlying Colors
Mascot Records 2012
Audio CD$8.23
$7.51 (used)
Live in EuropeLive in Europe
Mascot Records 2013
Audio CD$8.73
$7.99 (used)
Second NatureSecond Nature
Mascot Records 2014
Vinyl$22.98
Live in EuropeLive in Europe
Multiple Formats
Mascot 2013
DVD$9.93
$8.97 (used)
Other SideOther Side
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$8.81
$40.06 (used)
Flying ColorsFlying Colors
Import
Victor Japan
Audio CD$30.92
$28.51 (used)
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FLYING COLORS shows & tickets


  • Flying Colors at james armstrong, Los Angeles on 2 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Arcada Theatre, St. Charles, IL on 3 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Keswick Theatre, Glenside on 4 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona on 7 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Live Club, Trezzo sull'Adda, Milan on 8 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at 013, Tilburg on 9 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Batschkapp, Frankfurt-Seckbach on 11 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Pratteln on 12 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors at Islington Assembly Hall, London on 13 Oct 2014
  • Flying Colors + John Wesley at Théâtre de l'Alhambra, Paris on 14 Oct 2014

FLYING COLORS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FLYING COLORS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.62 | 130 ratings
Flying Colors
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Second Nature
2014

FLYING COLORS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Live In Europe
2013

FLYING COLORS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FLYING COLORS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FLYING COLORS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FLYING COLORS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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Review by AlanB

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 not being into heavy metal I tend to skip Shoulda Coulda Woulda and All Falls Down. Of the rest, my personal favourites are Blue Ocean, Kayla, Everything Changes, and the one progressive track, Infinite Fire. The highlight of this last one is an excellent duelling keyboard and guitar section featuring the two Morses. All of the musicians play superbly, but special mention must be made for Steve Morse for some excellent solos, even channelling Brian May at one point, and also Casey MacPherson on vocals.

Considering that the album was written and recorded in only a couple of weeks,it sounds amazing. I can't wait to see what their second album is like.

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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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Review by Earendil

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, usually sounding more like modern mainstream rock (with hints of mainstream rock from all decades) than progressive rock. This in itself isn't a problem, but the result was that I was unengaged for most of the album. There are some great tracks, but they are diluted by the greater number of average and sub-par tracks. This is the type of album that's likely to fade from my memory over time.

Rating: 5/10

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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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Review by voliveira

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 listen to this self-titled debut was very refreshing to my ears. What's wrong with a bit of simplicity from time to time?

While the five names that make up the band four are known to me (even Dave LaRue already was familiar), the biggest surprise was the vocalist Casey McPherson. Who is this guy? Where did? He was nominated by Portnoy, and I agree with what the reviewer said MuzikMan on the best drummer in the world to create their own label to mine new talent, because he has a great nose for it. McPherson's voice is great, nice (somewhat nasal, but I really have not found problems with it as meeting with other vocalists similar feature) and works well in the context and the proposal of the album, sounding like an element in favor - and I think which is better even than the voice of Neal.

Flying Colors is an album of pure rock in the end, something not sounding too poppy or mainstream - any Progger will animate with the epic Infinite Fire, which falls here as well as on any album Neal. Other highlights include opening Blue Ocean, the heavy Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, the pop Kayla, the beautiful ballads Everything Changes (this is to do cry it is so beautiful) and Better Than Walking Away. As a bonus we have the delicious Fool in My Heart, sung by (gasp) Mike Portnoy!

Honours 4 stars.

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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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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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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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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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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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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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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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Review by senor_velasco

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 implications were mind-blowing.

We'd already seen what songwriting genius Neal Morse and top drummer Mike Portnoy had created together in Transatlantic and in Neal's solo efforts. When you add veteran guitar legend Steve Morse and his Dixie Dregs compatriot Dave LaRue, you know they're brewing something special.

The album met most of my expectations, and circumvented the rest of them by going in a completely different and delightful direction.

First, Casey McPherson, the young and relatively unknown vocalist, brings a fresh sound to a genre that, frankly, isn't known for showcasing vocal talent. His voice is a nice departure from Neal's somewhat stale delivery.

As for the music, it's hard to categorize. It's clearly an amalgam of guitar-based Dixie Dregs style fusion and driving melodic hard rock, Neal Morse style. As the songs progress, it's abundantly clear who wrote what.

The album's highlight, Kayla, is an outstanding example of dynamic vocal, guitar and drum interplay, ranging from soft introspection to anthemic climax.

If one track could be considered "epic," it's Infinite Fire, which thoroughly uses up every last moment of its twelve minutes to showcase each player's amazing talents. The overall composition has Neal Morse written all over it, but it also accommodates the band's considerable individual talents. Particularly blazing here is Dave LaRue on the bass.

On a final note, it's clear that the production of Flying Colors was rush job. The label's website states that "Parts were selected based on feel, and left raw instead of using the standard practice of extensive digital editing to produce 'perfect' music." As a result, some of the tracks sound rather muddled and tinny.

While Flying Colors can't be classified as progressive rock in its purest form, it's brilliant enough to earn a place among the year's best progressive-related efforts. Here's hoping this first Flying Colors effort isn't the last.

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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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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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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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Flying Colors
Flying Colors Prog Related

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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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.62 | 130 ratings

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Flying Colors
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by Gallifrey

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 left sitting, because I completely loved it. The melodies are fantastic, the range of vocalists is epic and the proginess is still there, but it just isn't the most important factor.

From the bass rumble that opens the album in the amazing "Blue Ocean" to the 12 minute Neal Morse epic "Infinite Fire", the album never really has a dark moment.

The opener, "Blue Ocean" is one of the best songs on there. The bass is very good, in a sort of catchy way, and the vocals are stunning. Casey MacPherson really can sing. The chorus is one of the best on the album and it's one of those ones you can't go without singing at the top of your voice.

"Shoulda Coulda Woulda" and "All Falls Down" are two of the 'heavier' songs on the album, but not heavy in a Dream Theater way, in a better way. They choruses are hectic, but still melodic, and one of the places where Portnoy gets to prove he's Portnoy

"Kayla", "The Storm" and "Forever In A Daze" are the 3 best on the album in my opinion. Not because they are proggy, but because they all have fantastic melodies, and in the world of alt- rock, that's all that really matters.

"Love Is What I'm Waiting For" is one of the weaker moments, going a bit too pop, but not justifying it with a good melody. Still good once you listen though.

"Everything Changes" is a song that I listen to simply to hear that amazing moment when it goes from a regular song into a Neal Morse song, it will leave any Morse fan with an enormous grin.

"Better Than Walking Away" is another weaker song, a bit slow and moany.

"Fool In My Hard" is a nice song with a good Neal Morse vocal in the chorus, nothing too special.

"Infinite Fire" is the one that everyone seems to love. I often get confused by this, because it's nowhere near some of the earlier songs, as if the simple fact that it's 12 minutes makes it better. In any case, it's still a good song, although it sounds more Neal Morse than a collaboration. Casey does some other good vocals here too.

Overall 9/10

Get it if you like melody, no matter what style, if you're a fan of any kind of alt-rock music, and if you want to hear another 12 minute Neal Morse epic.

Don't get it if you're a music elitist who can only appreciate complex music and thinks that Alt- Rock is terrible because there aren't any weird time signatures (aka everyone on the forum who was complaining).

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