Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Flying Colors

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Flying Colors Second Nature album cover
3.81 | 214 ratings | 7 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Open Up Your Eyes (12:25)
2. Mask Machine (6:07)
3. Bombs Away (5:02)
4. The Fury of My Love (5:12)
5. A Place in Your World (6:32)
6. Lost Without You (4:40)
7. One Love Forever (7:22)
8. Peaceful Harbor (7:15)
9. Cosmic Symphony (11:54) :
- i. Still Life of the World
- ii. Searching for the Air
- iii. Pound for Pound

Total Time 66:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Casey McPherson / vocals, guitar
- Steve Morse / lead guitar
- Neal Morse / keyboards, guitar, vocals
- Dave LaRue / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums & percussion, vocals

- The McCrary Sisters / backing vocals (8,9)
- Shane Borth / strings (3)
- Chris Carmichael / strings (4,8)
- Eric Darken / hand drums (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Hugh Syme

2LP Music Theories Recordings ‎- 7443 1 (2014, Europe)

CD Music Theories Recordings - MTR 7443 5 (2014, Europe)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy FLYING COLORS Second Nature Music

FLYING COLORS Second Nature ratings distribution

(214 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

FLYING COLORS Second Nature reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars First, a confession: when I picked up this CD at my local library (a blind choice of an unfamiliar band, discovered entirely by chance) I had no clue to the stellar pedigree behind it. Neil Morse and Mike Portnoy, the stateside half of TRANSATLANTIC, recording alongside the guitarist and bass player from THE (DIXIE) DREGS? With marquee value like that, it was easy to overlook the red flag raised by the addition of a lead singer (Casey McPherson) recently signed to the Hollywood/Disney record label...a potential kiss of death, for discriminating Prog fans.

The supergroup was assembled by executive producer Bill Evans (no relation to the late, great Jazz pianist, sadly), and 'assembled' is definitely the right word. This is a quintet manufactured to strict industry standards, less a band than a boardroom committee of seasoned professionals, tasked with single goal: to make and market virtuoso pop music.

And if that agenda recalls the similar mission of groups like ASIA and GTR, imagine the disillusion of your harder-to-please Proghead friends after hearing the band's 2012 debut. The name-brand talent attracted some notice in these pages, but judging from a recent shortfall of reviews those high hopes have cooled for this sophomore effort. Which is a shame, because it's clearly the better album, with a far stronger rapport between each player.

Not surprisingly, there's a lot of Neil Morse's fingerprints on the music, but thankfully none of his backwards theology. The album's first and longest track, the mini-epic "Open Up Your Eyes", might have been an outtake from an early SPOCK'S BEARD session, and is almost matched by the inaptly titled bookend of "Cosmic Symphony", really three shorter songs awkwardly spliced into an attractive 12-minute suite. These two longer pieces give the musicians plenty of room to strut their stuff, more so than the clutch of pop songs and power ballads between them, all of them textbook models of AOR anonymity.

Maybe the project should have come with its own PMRC warning label: "Caution - Musicians Performing Below Expectations". And yet by its own narrow standards the album actually works very well, unlike the similar (and often sorry) mainstream digressions of other Proggers tempted by the fruit of commercial redemption. The longer songs show a tentative sense of renewed ambition, up to a carefully circumscribed point. And the lack of any self-conscious boilerplate Prog Rock keeps the music more honest, if less interesting, than anything by TRANSATLANTIC: a fraternal twin with the same genes but no outward resemblance.

The original plan, to "make new-fashioned music the old fashioned way" (quoting the Flying Colors website) might seem like a recipe for anachronistic kitsch. But it beats the contrary formula embraced by so many Neo-Prog acts, of regurgitating old-fashioned music the new-fashioned way. If the project continues we might, with any luck, hear the more creative instincts of Morse, Morse and Co. rise higher to the surface. Watch this space...

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Producer Bill Evans had this idea of putting a band together that was accessible and yet complex and fronted by a pop singer. So we have Neal Morse on keyboards, Mike Portnoy on drums, Steve Morse on guitar and Dave LaRue on bass. Yes the latter two are from the DIXIE DREGS. Apparently they looked at around 100 pop singers before Portnoy suggested Casey McPherson from ALPHA REV who was hired.

I forgot who was on this album other than Portnoy, but decided it would be an interesting first spin not knowing who was involved. By Track five I knew Neal Morse was here because he sings on that one. My conclusion was that the singer isn't on the level as the musicians. He came across as very middle of the road. He's a good singer but he seems like a "safe" pick.

So they have FLYING COLORS listed here under Prog-Related for a reason. "Second Nature" can be fairly straight forward, but I liked a lot of this, and it really smokes at times. Four of the nine tracks are really good, but unfortunately the other five are below average in my opinion. The almost 12 minute closer is like a mini version of the album in the sense it is very hit and miss, mostly miss. I feel that this doesn't end well with those last four tracks but the one Neal sings on is quite good called "A Place in Your World". Then add the three opening tracks "Open Up Your Eyes", "Mask Machine" and "Bombs Away" and that's my top four.

This is a band that seems to be on a mission, going on tour after every album then releasing a live one. So three studio records and three live ones so far. I just have this 2014 release which is their second one, and it certainly has it's moments. These guys can bring it.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Here's a question to consider....Does great musicianship automatically guarantee an album of progressive music?? Now, I think everyone will agree that the answer to that question is an unqualified..NO, because progressive music traditionally required superb composition, an attempt to incorporate ... (read more)

Report this review (#1387712) | Posted by subassonic | Thursday, March 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Second Nature was a surprise to me and took a couple of listens to fully enjoy the album and respect its potential. Flying Colors is an arrangement of musicians I highly regard, and throwing in a pop-rock flare with the typical proggy-rock is a refreshing move. With less nasally vocals common in cur ... (read more)

Report this review (#1297675) | Posted by Xeroth | Sunday, October 26, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Only a couple reviews? Wha--? Trading star ratings for experience one could fill up the night sky with this motley lot. For the love of all creatures great and small in the beloved world -- just take into account the collective number of albums put out, or featuring, Steve Morse, MIke Portnoy, an ... (read more)

Report this review (#1291928) | Posted by buddyblueyes | Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 "Ope ... (read more)

Report this review (#1285918) | Posted by strangelybrown | Monday, September 29, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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 bec ... (read more)

Report this review (#1283388) | Posted by AlanB | Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of FLYING COLORS "Second Nature"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.