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FLYING COLORS

Prog Related • United States


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Flying Colors picture
Flying Colors biography
Founded in 2011

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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FLYING COLORS Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy FLYING COLORS Music


Third DegreeThird Degree
Music Theories 2019
$12.06
$14.32 (used)
Second Nature (MTR74435)Second Nature (MTR74435)
Mascot Label Group 2014
$9.97
$14.18 (used)
Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2CD + DVD)Second Flight: Live At The Z7 (2CD + DVD)
Music Theories 2015
$9.32
$29.99 (used)
Flying Colors (MTR73632)Flying Colors (MTR73632)
Mascot Label Group 2012
$14.51 (used)
Live In Europe (MTR74172)Live In Europe (MTR74172)
Music Theories 2013
$8.16
$6.98 (used)
Live In Europe (MTR74177)Live In Europe (MTR74177)
Multiple Formats
Mascot Label Group 2013
$7.65
$10.98 (used)
Bible Camp Songs - What a Friend We Have in JesusBible Camp Songs - What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Under God's Rainbow 2008
$13.99
Bible Camp Songs - All Things Bright and BeautifulBible Camp Songs - All Things Bright and Beautiful
Under God's Rainbow 2008
$13.99
Bible Camp Songs - Jesus Loves MeBible Camp Songs - Jesus Loves Me
Under God's Rainbow 2008
$13.99

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FLYING COLORS discography


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

3.53 | 229 ratings
Flying Colors
2012
3.87 | 174 ratings
Second Nature
2014
3.57 | 28 ratings
Third Degree
2019

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

4.02 | 37 ratings
Live In Europe
2013
3.20 | 21 ratings
Second Flight: Live At The Z7
2015

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
 Third Degree by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.57 | 28 ratings

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Third Degree
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by javajeff

4 stars While Third Degree is the third album by Flying Colors, it feels more like a combination of the first two. The debut album was very accessible, and Second Nature is the most proggy of the trio. Third Degree does have some stellar proggy moments, and the most notable are on the tracks Crawl and Last Train Home... which are two of the best songs ever made by Flying Colors. The rest of Third Degree is memorable with lots of well done songs. Overall, this is another excellent release and flows perfectly with the previous efforts. Casey McPherson sounds great on this release and has some Radiohead moments with his voice hitting some high notes. Mike's drumming is always amazing, and brings this release up to supergroup status. Neal's influence is very evident on Last Train Home. I have no complaints with Third Degree, and it is a more accessible project that injects the prog to appeal to different people. Well done!
 Third Degree by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.57 | 28 ratings

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Third Degree
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars Flying Colors is a successful Prog Related supergroup that was formed in 2011 from an idea by producer Bill Evans. He wanted to bring together some giants of prog rock to create songs that were accessible and complex. He recruited Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs), and pop singer Casey Mc Pherson (Alpha Rev) who was signed with Disney records. This core line up has survived miraculously enough, through three albums to this point. Their 3rd album, released in October of 2019, is called "Third Degree" and features 9 tracks with a total run time of over 66 minutes. Of course, there is always a danger of hitting that fine line where people that love their music formualaic will find a supergroup such as this to be too complex, or progressive lovers will find it too commercial. The question is, does "Flying Colors" music land on that fine line?

Beginning with "The Loss Inside" (5:50), you get a song that begins with the full band playing at full force with a tasty guitar riff and the deep, somewhat gruff vocals. The music stays rather heavy with some great guitar solos and a nice organ solo. The music takes on the same feel as Asia, accessible but just a notch above the standard pop. The influences of Spock's Beard and Dream Theater are there, but in a more watered-down format. However, this track is a great opener and should get everyone's attention right off the bat. "More" (7:09) continues with the heavier pop sound, this time with vocals that are slightly processed and the song ends up sounding like something by "Muse" this time. I can see, however, that many people are going to hit the "like" button for this one because it is instantly likeable, but I also feel that it will wear itself out quickly, as it sounds like it's been done before, and it has more or less. The symphonic sound that comes in half-way through is a nice touch, and the interplay with keys and guitar is also appealing, but again, the question is whether it will hold up to the test of time. The music slows and quiets down when the vocals come back, and Casey continues with his best Matt Bellamy impression, then the band kicks back in and eventually return to the main theme. The music is professional and well developed, as you would probably expect considering the line-up involved.

"Cadence" (7:40) moves to a softer tone, but is heavy in the symphonic keys department. The vocals are a bit annoying here as the vocalist continues to imitate other vocalists. He can hold his own okay, but so far, I have a hard time hearing a tone or style in his singing that would make him recognizable. The music turns to an accessible Neo-prog style as it goes on, but when I say accessible, it is, so don't expect anything surprising or that really stands out here. The music takes on a slightly pompous attitude, even being lighter than the first two tracks, and more accessible. It's a bit boring. "Guardian" (7:10) starts off with pre-planned studio chatter that is supposed to sound like it was unexpectedly placed on the song and give everyone that warm and fuzzy feeling that we are listening to musical gods at work. Just like the previous track, this one is prog-lite, maybe even to a larger extent. There is a nice bass solo put in there though that eventually develops into a running guitar bridge that takes it all predictably back to the main theme. The problem is, the main theme on this track is a bit weak.

"Last Train Home" (10:31) has a slower, yet majestic sound to it, very "Asia"-like. Casey utilizes his full chest voice, trying to sound a bit operatic, but quickly giving up on that. After a couple of boring verses and choruses, the music speeds up a bit and builds up for an instrumental break, which features a Spock's Beard-like synth solo which finally falls off to acoustic strumming and more vocals. The attempt to be more personal for the listener just sounds contrived. Then there is some embarrassing vocal scatting that follows the guitar. It's impressive that the song is well developed and it does manage to break the 10 minute mark, but you end up feeling like it was 10 long minutes. "Geronimo" (5:19) goes for a funky vibe with layered vocals. There is some nice, tricky rhythmic patterns here, but it still remains quite accessible, and a bit too poppy for my own taste. The funkiness doesn't really feel that believable either.

"You Are Not Alone" (6:21) was penned by Casey about the effects of Hurricane Harvey in Austin, TX, which is where he is from. It does seem heartfelt enough, but it's really quite straightforward and is also obviously intended as a single. This is probably one track, even though it is far from progressive, that seems like the band is the most connected to, and Casey's vocals really connect here. It's also not quite as sappy as I thought it would be. It is straight forward pop though. "Love Letter" (5:09) is another single from the album, and is just way too happy sounding, perfect for skipping down the sidewalk. Definitely ackkkk-worthy. They're trying to make a Beach Boys song here and failing miserably. It's the kind of song that Frank Zappa would make fun of if Casey ever became his lead singer (of course we know that is impossible now), but think of The Turtles "Happy Together" and you'll have the right idea.

The last track is "Crawl" and comes in at an impressive 11:14 minutes. It starts with piano and somewhat annoying vocals. The light symphonic pop sound comes in as the music develops a bit, and then releases the attention in a repeating bridge that move predictably to a chorus. Rinse and repeat with a little more vigor the 2nd time. Then we move into a Asia-style instrumental break, progressive, but predictable, with a lot of the usual rapid guitar notes. Later, the music calms and processed vocals come in, and it sounds like Muse has returned.

For the more "adventurous" listener, there is a special edition available which gives you a bonus disk with 6 more songs! Wow! Don't be fooled into this one because it consists of one more original track, and then 5 instrumental versions of songs that you have already heard on this album. It's not worth the trouble.

In the end, the band definitely does what it was created to do, make progressive-lite music that is very accessible. However, it seems to me that it is mostly uninspired, taking age-old formulaic patterns and regurgitating them into another progressive pop band very similar to Asia and Muse. The best songs are the first two, and then I tend to get lost in the feeling of sameness that follows. You've heard it all before, but I know there is a market for the style. It all sounds good enough on the first go round, but subsequent listenings will be less enthusiastic. If music along the lines of Asia, Alan Parsons and so on is something you love, then you should check this out, but be warned that it feels a bit contrived and predictable. 3 stars seems like a fair rating.

 Live In Europe by FLYING COLORS album cover Live, 2013
4.02 | 37 ratings

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Live In Europe
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by Progprophet

4 stars Up until I first watched this disc, I liked Flying Colors, but I would not say that I regarded them as one of my favourite bands. Since they have put out only two albums (both of which I own), it is probably way too soon to really form a lasting opinion about this, anyway. However, after watching this disc, I am absolutely certain that the disc captures one of my top 5 or so, favourite live performances, on DVD or Blu-ray, in my substantial collection. There are few bands that I know of that can play live versions of their material, which I prefer to their original studio versions, or that I like at least equally, as another take on the same music. I now proclaim Flying Colors, on the evidence of this disc, to be one of those bands. Of course, this is very possible with musicians and composers of this high calibre and with the crystal-clear recording of live sound that can be achieved these days. Just to be complete about the technical quality of the disc then, the visuals are as stunningly pristine as the sound.

Of course, however, it is the quality of the songs and the performance of them, that should really matter to the purchaser of this disc. It is evident that the songs are infused into the muscle-memory of the band members, as they tour, play and perform. A big factor in my enthusiasm for this disc, is the palpable sense of enjoyment of the band members and their pride in the music that they have created. The simple rule is that when the performers have fun, the audience has fun. A remarkable fact about this disc, is that the band had only one album of Flying Colors songs to create their set-list from, so they played the whole album, plus songs from their past bands, to pad the performance out beyond an hour, as Mike Portnoy informs the audience. Let me assure you that these older songs are as far from filler material as you are likely to hear and the fact that there is not a poor song or performance on this disc, should tell you something about the quality of this band and the quality of their first album (Flying Colors).

Although this is a prog rock band, the songs are mostly very accessible, very positive and uplifting, without being anywhere close to light, frothy, throwaway pop music - and I love every song. This opinion comes from someone whose music collection consists mainly of prog rock of all sorts, including a lot of dark, dense, challenging and frankly bizarre stuff, which I generally far prefer to easily accessible music. Of course, all of the band members, bar one, have solid backgrounds in major progressive rock bands. Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard) is just ridiculously talented as a keyboard player and vocalist and as for drummer Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) - well he only cements his reputation as one of, if not the best drummer, in rock music today. He doesn't even totally crash and burn in his vocal parts! The other band members are the axe wizard Steve Morse on lead guitar (Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple), Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs) and the younger-than-the-rest and extremely talented vocalist (also guitarist), Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev).

 Second Nature by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 174 ratings

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Second Nature
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

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...

 Second Flight: Live At The Z7 by FLYING COLORS album cover Live, 2015
3.20 | 21 ratings

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Second Flight: Live At The Z7
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars The first cd of Flying Colors was done by Steve Morse and Neal Morse as the second was the results of the collaborations of each member which gives more variety and quality in the music. The music is still song/vocals-oriented almost AOR and Pop with progressive elements. The most progressive and longer tracks are "Open up Your Eyes" and "Mask Machine" with more complex time signatures. Neal Morse's keyboards while not having a major role like in his solo career bring some atmosphere in the music, also McPherson does most of the singing. We are in front of talented musicians here. Dave Larue in the first song add some interesting bass lines to the melody. Steve Morse's guitar solo are abundant and melodic. "The fury of My Love" starts as a ballad with piano and vocals and develop the melody in the Beatlesque fashion. I didn't enjoy the acoustic medley from Casey McPherson repertoire. There's plenty of typical classic pop rock songs on the edge of hard rock that includes a welcome little rhythm change for Progressive listeners., but don't expect another Transatlantic or Spock's Beard type of music. Some tracks have too much simplicity, for example, "Kayla" and "Shoulda Woulda Coulda", I suspect some humor in the latter, but "Cosmic Symphony" is quite different and enjoyable. This concert is well presented with 24 cameras in high definition with two types of surround sound.
 Second Flight: Live At The Z7 by FLYING COLORS album cover Live, 2015
3.20 | 21 ratings

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Second Flight: Live At The Z7
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by A3000

2 stars It's probably the first time I'm rating something as "Collectors/fans only" because this release is indeed only for the ones who are crazy about this band and their material, which, in my opinion, sounds as a mediocre cover on all those great prog rock bands from the 70s.

Despite the indisputable performance skills and good mixing quality, this release left me with a feeling like I've just listened to another Transatlantic live album with those very very predictable drum fills from Mike Portnoy. And I still consider him to be one of the best modern drummers.

Perhaps the only thing that really haunted me was the "Colder Months" / "Peaceful Harbor" medley.

Sorry folks, didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings.

 Second Nature by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 174 ratings

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Second Nature
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by subassonic

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 non-conventional instruments and production techniques, blah, blah, blah....you know....all of the above. Here are four undisputed instrumental giants and...ahhh....a new guy with a very pleasant voice. Fine....so they've got the playing part covered but have they satisfied us on the other level?...you know...the blah, blah stuff? Well....yes and no. What I'm hearing on this and the first album from FC is pretty much, straight ahead melodic rock albeit played by exeptional dudes. That said, the opening track is a fine composition that really does cover a lot of sonic territory and can very sensibly be described as a piece of progressive music. The remaining tracks however are most definitely not. So...what to do? This.....accept yet another entry into the Progarchives that arguably should not be here. Second Nature is a great album and I will listen to it quite a few times but....and here's the test....will I look forward to loading the album 20 years from now, the way I do Close to the Edge or Nursery Crime?....an unqualified....NO.....3 stars for the first track and the hints of prog littered about the rest of the album.
 Second Nature by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 174 ratings

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Second Nature
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by Xeroth

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 current Neo and Symphonic prog styles held back, which often turn me away from many respectable bands such as Marrillion, Pallas, IQ, and even Neal Morse's solo works, Flying Colors is a fresh sound. With that positive, Flying Colors is a band I've come to really enjoy. Second Nature, the second album to Flying Colors career, is a step in a good direction where a unique sound is solidifying and old cliches from Portnoy's prog-metal and Morse's Neo/Symphonic prog are sifting away. A third album could be expected to be even better.

Compared to their debut album Second Nature is a better listen. There's still a drag halfway through the album where the songs sound generic or bland. But stand alone songs such as Mask Machine, Lost Without You, One Lost Forever, and Cosmic Symphony will make the purchase and the inclusion in your prog-rock collection well worth the investment. I think there are enough prog features to find enjoyment in every song, but these four in particular stood out to me on first listen and I deemed the album worthy of further listening. The other songs, like Bombs Away, Peaceful Harbor, and such are still good listens but not as engaging as I would've hoped. Therefore, with such drawn enjoyment from the album I'd give it a 4/5, deeming this a worthy and excellent addition into not just a prog collection, but any. One nice feature about Flying Colors if is you're in a proggy mood but surrounded by less musically inclined company, Flying Colors has songs that help bridge that gap so everyone is at least in consensus and someone isn't leaning behind the couch saying, "The crap is this we're listening to?"

In conclusion the album is top-notch and fun. It explores a new style and is emotionally moving in portions too. If you were to purchase only one song from the album, Mask Machine I thought was phenomenal, and even if the rest of the album was garbage I would have to say that song made the purchase worth the dime. 4/5, excellent addition to any rock collection.

 Second Nature by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.87 | 174 ratings

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Second Nature
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by buddyblueyes

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, and Neil Morse! [pauses to actually take account. ...counting ... still counting... well, I don't have that many fingers and toes, so you'll have to count for yourselves. But seriously, wiki that s__t!]

This time they went it alone folks, sans producer (although Peter Collins from the debut is a stellar producer. Check out his credits: one humble release being Queensryche's, Mindcrime). Much like going to Hawaii without your sunscreen, it's usually considered "ill-advised" to go uncovered in the studio with your band. Everything but your banana hammock will get burned! Consider this group, however: do you really think a producer is worth his slice of the pie? Is he or she going to have more experience than what these guys already know about band management in the studio or organization during the songwriting process? Is their name going to carry any more weight than the names of the members associated with this act? "No thanks Mr. Producer, we'll handle this one." There's something about that situation that puts a smile on my face in a similar fashion that it's fun to listen to David Lee Roth expound on trite swill with much mental excrement.

At first mention of a Flying Colors release there was a perplexed "humph?" moment for this reviewer. Although it makes sense now, I never thought about pairing 2/3 of the Steve Morse Band with Neil Morse and Mike Portnoy, the powerhouse duo who've worked together on many a fine release. And who is this new singer I've never heard of? After absorbing their debut I was pleasantly surprised at the result and mixture of signature sounds, especially hearing the mashup of Portnoy and Dave LaRue. Portnoy's work with Billy Sheehan, exceptionally illustrated with the Winery Dogs, resulted in wonderful rhythmic conversations excitingly different from his stint in DT with Myung. With Winery Dogs, Sheehan and Portnoy pulled the best out of each other (BTW, who else was surprised that Ritchie Kotzen could pull such a compelling Chris Cornell out of his vocal orifice?) I find this collaboration with LaRue just as great, knowing that Dave can really dig in and "pop" a good bass when it's his time to spotlight. Although this fan of Van Romaine with the Steve Morse Band is somewhat saddened, the fire and energy Portnoy exudes just drives this band. Leaving Dream Theater on the horizon may have been the best thing he did to broaden his musical career. The drums throughout are propelling. It makes one want to grab the nearest "big block" engine and head-butt it repeatedly and then overturn a table in a public restaurant and set it on fire!

Also noteworthy is the interplay between Morse and Morse (no relation, just pure co-inky-dink), two giants who understand that creating music is a conversation. No toes are stepped on, no overshadowing. Space is given for each contributor. Duplicated lead runs on the keys and guitar blend effortlessly and the tone of instruments compliment each other extremely well. The only thing missing for this reviewer is some excellent chicken pickin from Morse a la "Gina Lola Breakdown" or funky "Ice Cakes" from the Dixie Dregs days (Ah! the glory days, which seems like a never-ending wish since the string of Morse's recent solo work is pretty straight ahead rock influenced ... sans Angelfire, the album with his neighbors daughter. Let's all just pretend that never happened). At least there's a little hint of the celtic influence which brought back thoughts of "Highland Wedding" or "Looking Back" from High Tension Wires -- [chuckle] the only time we've seen photos of Steve on an album with short hair! :)

Casey's voice has a unique timbre, but it's compelling. His emotive inflections bring songs like "Peaceful Harbor" to the next level. It didn't hit me for awhile, but when I just recently heard a song from Five for Fighting there was the "ah ha!" moment. There are some parallels with John Ondrasik. The longer phrasings suit his tone and add buoyant moments of contemplation and pleasantry. Neil, of course has his featured vocals sprinkled in, but showcased more predominately in "A Place In Your World", a song I find myself unwittingly thinking about sharing a malt shake with my sweetie down at the local Burgerville.

And this leads us to the only possible shortcoming with the album, which is the continued, goody two-shoes lyrics -- no doubt influence carried over from Neil Morse's solo work. If I'm wrong then Casey must attend the same church :). Fluffy even, perhaps the next album cover should contain images of unicorns and pink slippers. Who knows, perhaps this reviewer has spent too much time listening to pretentious dynamic word slinger-songwriters like Sting, Rufus Wainwright, Tom Waits, or Tori Amos in his past, but there is too much overuse of the word "love" in a cutesy, done-to-death way, which causes some prog listeners ears to... well, the equivalent of a cat wharfing up a hairball. Regurgitated pop generalities are great for crossover audiences, but for those of us who want great storytelling or compelling topics of discussion (see Headspace, Big Big Train) Second Nature will fall a little flat in that regard.

Overall, Flying Color's sophmore effort manages to continue the feel good prog pop brigade and it is a great, entertaining listen; if nothing more than a way to cross pollinate fans of all the iconic individual members. It's good music business strategy, too. Dig this band and you're work is cut out for you. You'll have to amass a library of albums as you explore the enormous bodies of work these individual, talented, and inspiring artists have spent a lifetime achieving. Dwelling on that fact alone, nothing but heaping piles of deep respect must be given.

Wishful concert band pairing: Sound of Contact.

 Flying Colors by FLYING COLORS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.53 | 229 ratings

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Flying Colors
Flying Colors Prog Related

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

2 stars What happens when you put a group of fabulous musicians in a room to write a killer album? They produce the unthinkable, something glorious, right? Well, not always. For all the talk in Flying Color's pre-release videos about how they felt like the stars were aligning for this album, they sure managed to produce something which, to my ears and tastes, sounded like decent pop music. Just to clear things up, if this was their aim, they did a really solid job at writing good pop rock.

Now, here are the things you probably want to know about my opinion on the album (after all, you are reading my article). First question: How are the performances? Answer: Great. Second question: How are the songs? They didn't even come close to doing it for me. Mr. LaRue, Morse, McPhearson, Portnoy, and Morse may have been amazed at how naturally the songs came together, but when you get musicians as good as them together, it shouldn't take long to hammer out some good pop songs, which is exactly what's going on here. What's hard is for a bunch of guys as good as them to meet up and produce high quality, original, ambitious music. I'm not saying virtuoso or technical, but ambitious, something that aims high, that seeks to go beyond the mundane. All I can say is that I hope that they get a hit single and make a huge buck on this album.

Are there no redeeming moments? Of course there's some great seconds that happen. There's a couple of good choruses, Steve has a really cool guitar solo on "The Storm," Mike's drumming overall fits the music very well and has several sweet moments, etc. But don't be expecting a prog album here. Even saying this is a prog influenced pop album I think is a bit of a stretch for 90% of the songs. Let's get to that 10%. The last track, "Infinite Fire," is the gem of the album. Here's the thing; it's catchy, but not corny. It's got hooks, but doesn't scream out generic pop rock. Apart from that, it's got all the prog elements we want from these guys. It doesn't need to be insane and over the top with time signature changes every three seconds to get its point across. In other words, it's got all the proggy goodness without being overly pretentious. The themes are great, the vibe is nice and melodic, and I'm not gonna lie, I actually enjoyed the vocals on this one. Amazing, right? At least they closed off the album strong.

I'm going to commit heresy and say that unless you are wanting to add some pop rock to your collection, skip the album and just buy the mp3 of "Infinite Fire"? if you can find just the mp3.

Thanks to epignosis for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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