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Flying Colors - Second Nature Award winner

Flying Colors
Second Nature
by Matt Coe at 16 October 2014, 9:14 PM

The second studio album from Progressive Rock supergroup FLYING COLORS, contains a lot of known players in the music world: drummer Mike Portnoy is in THE WINERY DOGS and an ex-member of DREAM THEATER – guitarist Steve Morse currently plays in DEEP PURPLE, keyboardist Neal Morse formed SPOCK’S BEARD and played with them for many years, while bassist Dave LaRue has been involved with THE DIXIE DREGS. Joining up with Alternative Rocker Casey McPherson, who performs on ALPHA REV, this act certainly decide to let the songwriting and performances fall where they may when they choose to get together based on their schedules.

Hot on the heels of last year’s “Live in Europe” release, “Second Nature” is a 9-song, 66-minute journey into Progressive Rock royalty so to speak. You know you aren’t dealing in small minded territory when the first track “Open up Your Eyes” takes up 12:24 between outer world keyboard passages, thunderous instrumental sections and this equally atmospheric melody outlook from Casey – as if colliding the prime eras of YES, KANSAS, and PINK FLOYD into one. The follow up “Mask Machine” has this psychedelic throwback element, between the “wooo-ohh-wooo” background vocals, steady riff and Portnoy’s playful tempo that has a little spirit and snap.

Throughout, you hear genuine respect and affinity for all five musicians at heart. Be it the bass to guitar interplay on “Bombs Away”, the upbeat nature of multi-layered organs that leads the massively comfortable “A Place in Your World”, or the quieter, almost church hymn like “Peaceful Harbor” – the versatility makes me want to re-engage to the record, dig deeper for the next aural nuance, and come away invigorated and inspired. The three part “Cosmic Symphony” conclusion, again straddles numerous harmonic styles – vocally and musically – while presenting all the members in great light as they give a Progressive Rock history lesson through the time changes, ambiance, and natural instincts.

This genre works best when the musicians respect the art form – capture ideas into song formats and allow the arrangements to go where they may. FLYING COLORS succeeds on all fronts, as “Second Nature” will hit many “best of” lists for the year.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Open Up Your Eyes
2. Mask Machine
3. Bombs Away
4. The Fury of My Love
5. A Place In Your World
6. Lost Without You
7. One Love Forever
8. Peaceful Harbor
9. Cosmic Symphony
    I. Still Life of the World
    II. Searching for the Air
    III. Pound For Pound)
Lineup:
Casey McPherson - Vocals, Guitars
Steve Morse - Guitars
Neal Morse - Keyboards
Dave LaRue - Bass
Mike Portnoy - Drums, Vocals
Record Label: Mascot Records
     


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