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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$10.00
Flying ColorsFlying Colors
Mascot Records 2012
Audio CD$7.78
$7.78 (used)
Second NatureSecond Nature
Mascot Records 2014
Vinyl$22.98
Live in EuropeLive in Europe
Mascot Records 2013
Audio CD$8.67
$6.73 (used)
Other SideOther Side
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$47.17
$42.05 (used)
Live in EuropeLive in Europe
Multiple Formats
Mascot 2013
DVD$9.93
$6.12 (used)
Flying ColorsFlying Colors
Import
Victor Japan
Audio CD$29.65
$27.40 (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)

3.58 | 148 ratings
Flying Colors
2012
4.00 | 39 ratings
Second Nature
2014

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

4.00 | 13 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
 Second Nature by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 39 ratings

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Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by strangelybrown

5 stars Flying Colors - Second Nature

Just sublime melodies and song writing here on what was, for me, a highly awaited second album by this almighty line-up. A huge leap in sophistication has occurred on Second Nature with its beautifully sculpted atmospheres, particularly on the mini-epic opener "Open Up Your Eyes" and the emotion evoking three-part piece that closes the album 76 minutes later.

"Open Up Your Eyes" sets the stage perfectly almost like a Transatlantic number with its climactic, majestic movements and motifs. It's almost impossible not to sing along and get out the old air guitar to the middle chorus and subsequent, screaming Steve Morse guitar solo. A charging build up then leads us towards the looming, massive crescendo 10 minutes in that will leave you with goosebumps.

Neal Morse clearly was hitting his creative expectations with his contributions to the song writing throughout the album. Regarding the vocals I feel that Second Nature uses Casey's tone and range much better than on the first, self-titled album. Mr Portnoy, well he's always exemplary!

The closing segment of the final three parter, "Pound for a Pound" is awesome with its beautiful melody and powerhouse final guitar solo. Other parts to enjoy include the excellent ballad "The Fury Of My Love" and the awe-inspiring Peaceful Harbour.

9 out of 10 from me rounded up as it's my first review on this amazing website!

Keep on proggin!

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 Second Nature by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 39 ratings

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Review by AlanB

4 stars The first album by Flying Colors got mixed reviews. Some people loved it (I was one of those) whilst others were disappointed that a band that included Mike Portnoy and Neal Morse had made an album that wasn't very "prog." Well, the second album from this band can't be criticised in that way because this is most definitely a prog album. Opening with a 12 minute song, and ending with a 12 minute, three part suite, these are the obvious progressive songs, but most of the shorter songs also mix pop/rock with progressive elements.

So, starting at the beginning, Open Up Your Eyes is like a mini-Transatlantic epic, with the first four minutes consisting of an instrumental overture before the vocal come in. There are plenty of swirling keyboards and lead guitar, and Portnoy's characteristic drumming is there too (something that was largely absent from the first album.) The next two tracks are more in a heavy metal style, something not usually to my taste, but certainly Mask Machine has a catchy hook and is an obvious choice for a single. After Bombs Away comes a more straightforward ballad, then the rocker A Place In Your World with some nice guitar riffs and keyboard lines, plus a singalong chorus. Lost Without You is another Power Ballad and the shortest song on the album at under 5 minutes. Then we get to the point at which the album really hits the heights. I defy anyone to listen to the last 3 tracks, one after the other, and not be amazed at the genius of this band. Kicking off with One Love Forever, which has an infectious acoustic guitar riff and a celtic feel, we then move on to what is probably my favourite song on the album. Peaceful Harbour has a beautiful spiritual feel to it, and the beginning and end put me in mind of Mostly Autumn. Finally we have a real gem. Cosmic Symphony is a three part suite with sections approximately three, three and six minutes long. It starts with thunder and rain effects and a simple repeated piano line before vocals, drums and guitar come in. Finally these are joined by a melodic bass line. The second section is more jazz keyboard based and then we move on to the final part which reminded me of REM. The song ends with the same piano line and thunder effects which began it.

A superb album, even better than their first and certainly proggier.

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 Live In Europe by FLYING COLORS album cover Live, 2013
4.00 | 13 ratings

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Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars By now everyone know about Flying Colors, another side project by the Prog hard workers and creators of Transatlantic Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy.

If you don't know yet allow me to explain that this band is not Transatlantic! Although the band is indeed another super group with Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Neal Morse, Transatlantic and Winery Dogs), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, solo), Steve Morse (Dixie Dreggs, Deep Purple), Dave LaRue (Steve Morse Band) and the little known Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev, Endochine). Thing is, FLying Colors is not a Prog band, at least not in their first album. The band is a very good example of Crossover Prog with a Rock/Pop formula but with chops, real clever moments and parts and great melodies.

I heard their first album Flying Colors (2012) and thought it was a great album, but it didn't really knock my feet off the ground. When they announced a live album the next year I was thinking to myself "Why a live album now?!?"

Live In Europe (2013) is a double album with little less than 2 hours recorded in the Netherlands and where they play the whole first album. To pull it off a full concert they also played a song from each solo careers, so here you go with a Dream Theater song, a Spock's Beard song, a Dixie Dreggs song and a Alpha Rev song.

Don't get me wrong, this is a great concert in all means and I would be really glad to be there at the concert. The band is flawless and the songs are very strong live. But it keeps popping out in my head that doesn't make any sense for a band with one studio album to release a live one as a following. But it became quite normal for Neal Morse's career.

Now the band's second album is out and you can bet there'll be another live album next year! But it's ok, you can go for it because it's high quality material!

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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.58 | 148 ratings

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Review by Tull Tales

2 stars Despite all the cheese on this album, I probably still would have given it three stars if they had just let Neal Morse sing. I intensely dislike the vocals of Casey McPherson. He will be singing along just fine and then inexplicably add this bizarre nasally twang (not uncommon to current pop singers). I can't stand to listen to it.

Some of the extended instrumental sections in the longer songs are pretty cool, but not so profound that it keeps me coming back.

In the end, the album isn't terrible, but I honestly don't care if I ever hear it again. Considering the personnel, rather disappointing.

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 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.58 | 148 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
3.58 | 148 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
3.58 | 148 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
3.58 | 148 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
3.58 | 148 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
3.58 | 148 ratings

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Flying Colors
Flying Colors Prog Related

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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