Flying Colors Self Titled Album Review.
Hello all you music lovers!
Today is a grand day for music,as Flying Colors release their debut album.
Now for those of you that don't know,"Flying Colors" is a Progressive Rock super group,that has mixed ingredients of Rock and Eclectic/Atmospheric Pop.
The band's idea was to combine an absolutely amazing Pop Singer/Songwriter/Guitar Player with virtuoso musicians,that are just absolutely phenomenal on their instruments.
The inception of this band came about when executive producer Bill Evans suggested this idea to the musicians and Peter Collins,the legendary producer involved in this project.
Speaking of phenomenal musicianship,I'll be informing you of the line up for this band and the artists they have worked with or still are working with in their careers.
The line up for this band is as follows:
Casey Mc Pherson(Alpha Rev)-Vocals,Keyboards,and Rhythm Guitar.
Neal Morse(Spock's Beard,Solo Artist,and Transatlantic)-Keyboards,and Vocals.
Steve Morse(Dixie Dregs,Steve Morse Band,and Deep Purple)-Lead And Rhythm Guitar.
Dave La Rue(Dixie Dregs,Steve Morse Band,and Deep Purple)-Bass Guitar.
Mike Portnoy(Dream Theater,Avenged Sevenfold,Adrenaline Mob,and Transatlantic)-Drums,Percussion,and Vocals.
Now when you have a line up of such an amazing caliber backed up by an absolutely incredible producer,you expect the results to be nothing short of excellent.
In my review we will look at every song individually and see whether this project was a major success or not,let's get right in to it.
1.Blue Ocean: This song starts with the band discussing an aspect of one of the sections of this song.The discussion is taken from the original recording sessions.
As the music started for the song,it caught me immediately!The really nice groovy bass line by Dave La Rue combined with Mike Portnoy's drum pattern,and
Steve Morse's guitar fills really set the mood for the song. The song is upbeat,catchy,and groovy. Neal Morse gives a nice atmospheric backing to the song,with his keyboards.
One thing that I am realizing as I am listening to the song,Neal Morse's keyboards are backing the song and not driving the song.It's very different for me to hear Neal in this type
of a situation,as with his other bands and collaborations he has been an immense driving force. I wouldn't say it's bad and it just goes to show how great these guys are sounding as a unit.
Casey Mc Pherson comes in with his wonderful vocals and I can see why they chose him to be the main voice for this band. I mean there is this enigma in his voice,that would just make
you really get in to the song. When I was listening to the CD I was reading the lyrics as well,and thanks to Casey I was singing along. Yup that is the effect that the man's voice has on you.
His way of singing each line flawlessly and his amazing talent to bring lyrics to life,is just something you don't see everyday. Before the chorus Neal Morse comes in and sings along with Casey,
Neal is one of my favorite musicians of all time. I love the combination and vocal exchanges between Neal and Casey,it's just magic!
The song is really uplifting and I feel it really gives the listener a lot of optimism. To me it talks about keeping a positive attitude and keeping the faith as with patience and perseverance come great rewards,such as heaven. Yes I feel the song really talks about heaven,in fact I feel that there is a sense of admiration for heaven. Now coming to Steve Morse,what can I say about one of the best guitar players in the world. I myself am a guitar player and Steve Morse has been an influence of mine for a long time now. His solo on this song is fantastic,it's clean,melodic,groovy,and just an absolute treat to listen to. With a catchy verses and choruses combined with phenomenal musicianship,this song turns out to be a fantastic opener for the album.
2.Shoulda Coulda Woulda: BANG!!!! Yes this song starts with an absolute rocking bang. Casey Mc Pherson and Steve Morse are just belting out fantastic riffs from the very beginning of this song. Mike Portnoy is just pounding the drums with the right attitude and fills,Dave La Rue is really gelling in and keeping the groove on the right spot. Neal Morse is giving the perfect back up,with his classy keyboard playing,and Casey's vocals are just tantalizing. The lyrics are definitely of a dark subject matter. To me it talks about an individuals frustrations and how he wants to get away from it all. I think the lyrics are really well written,and fit the entire classy hard rock sound the track presents. Steve Morse is the star on this track,the solo is absolutely epic. Overall this song has the perfect lyrics,for the perfect arrangement,and the chemistry of the band is just perfect. All in all another perfect number!
3. Kayla: This song is just absolutely gorgeous. It starts with a beautiful acoustic intro by Steve Morse and then going in to the territory of the electric guitar. Casey starts singing the first lines just at the right moment. The way Steve Morse and Casey Mc Pherson are sounding together in the first section of this track is just so natural. It's like these guys have been working together for years,while in reality the situation is quiet the opposite. I mean if no one was told that most of these guys were working together for the first time besides Mike Portnoy and Neal Morse,it would be quiet hard to believe. The chemistry is just so prominent and energetic. At about 39 minutes in to the song the combination of the guitar and vocals ends as the entire band comes in. Now coming to the song,it is obviously a love song. The chorus is just so much fun to listen to,it's definitely one of the best choruses on the album. The lyrics have this joy to them and there is an enthusiasm. The entire band sounds incredible on this song,the band chemistry is still very strong! at 2:48 Neal Morse sings a beautiful verse.The piano is really creating a great layer for Neal's vocal parts added with Casey's vocal fillers,and Steve Morse playing the clean guitar fills sound absolutely well thought out for this section. Mike Portnoy really knows when and what to play with his drums and how to create a buildup that goes in to another melodic and beautifully phrased solo of Steve Morse.
This song is a good example of a catchy pop tune combined with phenomenal musicianship. I absolutely love this song and I think they should make a video for this track,definitely has a lot of radio potential too!
4.The Storm: Wow,the catchy stuff just doesn't end. This song is like "Rush" meets the "Foo Fighters". The guitar chordal work really reminds me of Alex Lifeson's work,Steve Morse is just shining on this album. Portnoy is really keeping the groove,and Dave La Rue is adding a lot of nice flavor to the sounds,the keyboards are in the background and Neal is adding some great backing vocals on this one. At about 2:35 the section is just really progressive. Casey is sounding phenomenal the solo at 3:02,my goodness absolutely lovely. Is Steve Morse on fire or what!Personally I feel he is sounding much more natural with these guys than "Deep Purple",but that's just me you know. I am loving the chemistry between all the band members. The storm definitely sounds like something Mike Portnoy wrote and the song has a lot of "Rush" influence put in to it. To me it talks about how times aren't always easy but when they do get tough you should handle them with a calm and cool attitude. It's got a beautiful and positive message there. I feel Portnoy wrote this because I have been following his career since the beginning and I know these last 2 years have been a roller coaster ride for him. Anyhow an absolutely lovely track,very uplifting.
5.Forever In A Daze: Sounds rocking from the first riff! The synths in the background sound really cool. Dave La Rue's bass sounds absolutely funky on this one and Portnoy is just laying down an epic groove. We are in the fifth song already and Casey is still sounding stellar. I absolutely love his voice,he fits like a glove with these guys! Wow another epic chorus,that will stay in my head and be engraved in my memory. I can't believe these guys worked on this album in a few weeks,it's so phenomenal. This is another love song with some interesting word play,I love the whole witty vibe this track possesses.
It's about being madly in love with someone who doesn't even know what you feel for them,the topic is very common but what makes this another great song is the wonderful word play and musicianship. Another really fun track. 2:30 Dave La Rue brings the funk out,the band has a nice cool jam,the keyboards on this track are absolutely fun! The guitar solo is fitting in perfectly with the song.
So far no a single weak track,let's move forward.
6. Love Is What I Am Waiting For: A perfect example of a nice catchy contemporary songwriter song,given a spin with a fantastic band backing it up. The chorus is really catchy the lyrics are extremely witty. What can I say this entire project is just sounding fantastic,Casey sounds great. 2:05 the entire band brings in a shuffle type of feel and Steve Morse lays down another wonderful solo. Every note he plays is so crystal clear,and the then the song returns to it's original pop form. At 2:59 there is a nice key change,the transition sounds wonderful and the backing vocals on this track are really fun to listen to. Absolutely fantastic and very catchy. It has a lot of "The Beatles" vibe to it. At some points Casey actually sounded like Paul McCartney!
7.Everything Changes: What a wonderful intro,it has a lot of the progressive "Dixie Dregs" vibe to it. The lyrics are really personal and are great for self pondering,this track is definitely a beautiful ballad.
I think the lyrics on this one are written by Neal Morse,it definitely has that vibe.The song discusses about how there are many ups and downs in life but if you keep the faith and trust god,then everything will be taken care of. I think a good line for this song would be "It's not about what life brings to you but what you bring to life". If you are going through a lot of pain it's better to totally rejuvenate yourself and heal,so that your future is much more brighter.After all you have nothing to loose by giving a grand change a shot. That's what I feel when I hear this song and I definitely love it. At 2:50 there is this beautiful chorus sung by Neal Morse,that has a lot of "The Beatles" vibe. Mike Portnoy and Dave La Rue really give a wonderful effect with their fills on this section,and then another build up takes place going in to another beautiful Steve Morse solo. The ending section of this song in one word would be "EPIC",I hear a lot of "Dixie" Dregs again.
8.Better Than Walking Away:This track is again a very personal track. Casey sings this beautifully,he sings this song like he is singing right in your ears. Neal Morse is once again doing a great job on the backing vocals and background keys. The song discusses about parenting I believe and the importance of family. I think it's a great track for the modern times because everyone is just so consumed in their own work. Family bonds are just not the same anymore,fathers don't give too much time to their kids.Husbands and wives don't give a lot of time to each other,which leads to problems in marriage. Due too much work and pressure,most of the people are angry and frustrated. This song makes me wonder about whether it's worth to risk all these important relations because of our modern life styles? I think the song has a beautiful message telling that,take a step back and wait for a bit. Rekindle yourself with the things that actually truly matter in life. Beautiful stuff...
9. All Falls Down: The energy comes back on this one. The intro is just that signature Steve Morse and Dave La Rue sound. The drum patterns and groove on this track are absolutely epic! Another upbeat and rocking track! Steve Morse's signature sound is really present on this track and if you're familiar with his older work you'll know what I mean. This song has a beautiful and important message,it talks about not to live under oppression. It talks about fighting for peace,love,and harmony. The guitar solo on this one has that signature Steve Morse alternate picking,always a joy to hear that cause it's flawless. Casey's vocals are once again simply mesmerizing and perfect for the song. The guy has so much melody in his voice,it's addictive!!! at around 2:01 Neal Morse's keyboard solo comes up and Portnoy and Neal Morse are doing a fantastic interplay jam with the keyboard and drums. at around 2:21 Steve Morse comes in and joins Neal Morse,Mike Portnoy,and Dave La Rue. There is a nice epic,short,and sweet jam on this track. Super fun to listen to!
10. Fool In My Heart: Starts with an awesome intro by Steve Morse and then the entire band comes in. The song has a very old school feel and one really cool thing about this song is that,a lot of it has been sung by Mike Portnoy. On this track you'll hear Casey,Mike,and Neal on vocals,which to me is such a treat. You can simply relax and listen to this one,the topic on this one is another common one.
It's about our foolish heart that makes us fall madly in love with someone who doesn't even care about us. Personally I feel a lot of people would relate to this song,there is a lot a of witty sarcasm in this song. This song would definitely put a smile on your face. I must say the lyrics on all the songs are just fantastic! Steve Morse plays a rocking blues solo,but still keeps his signature alternate picking in the mix as well. Everything sounds really balanced,I get a lot of "The Beatles" vibe on this one as well and there is nothing wrong with that. It's always a good thing to have that sort of influence in music of this caliber.
11.Infinite Fire: Coming to the final song on this album,this will be a treat for all the progressive rock fans. As you know when we speak of Neal Morse,Mike Portnoy,Dave La Rue,and Steve Morse being in one band,it's hard to accept the fact that there won't be an epic track on the album. No worries ladies and gentleman the wait is over as this a 12:00 minute epic! It starts with mesmerizing synths and piano parts.Mike Portnoy is messing around with some cool drum gadgets to give more color to the song. At around 40 seconds you can tell there is a nice anticipation taking place that would lead to the beginning of the song. Finally the band comes in and I can tell right away that the men are doing what they do best! They are bringing back the epic Progressive element,which we have loved them for. At 1:35 Dave La Rue starts this awesome groovy bass line,Portnoy is playing some fantastic fills and patterns,and Casey and Neal are just balancing the track with their beautiful vocals. I can see that if this song was not a "Flying Colors" song then it would have easily been on a Transatlantic album. There is some fantastic work on this one by Dave La Rue and Steve Morse. The keyboards sound fantastic giving support to an awesome solo by Steve Morse. Mike Portnoy and Dave La Rue are inseparable! They are really giving a fantastic feel to this track! The jam on this track is so much fun to listen to. The interplay between Steve Morse and Neal Morse is progressive rock at it's best!This is the only track where Neal becomes a driving force again.The entire band sounds very enigmatic here!After the instrumental section Neal Morse starts singing an epic verse,then eventually goes in to a nice signature Spock's Beard moment,and then goes in to the instrumental interplay between Mike Portnoy,Steve Morse,Neal Morse,and Dave La Rue. After that we return to our catchy chorus again,which is quiet a treat to listen to. The coolest thing about this song was that all the musicians got their best aspects and strengths on this song,I didn't feel at any point that they were dominating each other. It was more like a lot of great chefs in the kitchen creating an amazing and tasty recipe.
We finally come to an end of the album and all I am left with is a lot of satisfaction. It was really worth the wait,I absolutely loved every bit of this album. There is absolutely no section,no part that seems to be a misfit. Everything was beautifully done,the production,the arrangements,the vocal harmonies,the lyrics,and the undeniable epic musicianship. This record took me to all sorts of places from the 70s up until now. It's a refreshing and modern album done in an old school way. This album is definitely one of the best albums to come out this year,I absolutely love it! Take my advice go buy this record,I doubt you'll be disappointed.
My rating for this album is a straight 10/10.
5/5/2012 2:17 AM
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