Originated from an idea by producer Bill Evans and featuring former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse, Neal Morse (Spocks beard, Transatlantic), Dave LaRue (dixie Dregs), and Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev), prog-pop-hard-rock band Flying Colors are back after two years from their homonymous debut album, with a brilliant new CD, out on Mascot Music on October 6th.
Second Nature opens in the best possible way, with Open Up Your Eyes, a classical, beautiful 12-minute progressive rock suite. The second track, Mask Machine, is predictably the launching single (see video below), being it the perfect pop-rock song, with its exciting guitar riffs, addictive melodies, outstanding bass lines and an instrumental bridge that is worth the whole album.
Bombs Away is a precious melodic mid-tempo jewel where Steve Morse and Portnoy give their best; while The Fury Of My Love, an honest gift to all those rock ballads lovers, gives McPherson a chance to show off the warm quivering rock side of his voice. The remarkable epic marches and celtic arrangements of One Love Forever represent another enticing moment of the album, while the quiet beginning of Peaceful Harbour exploding in the second half into Oldfield-ish guitar riffs and choral melodies will fill your heart and skin with good vibes.
The album ends as it started, with a 12-minute epic progressive rock suite, Cosmic Symphony, divided into three parts rich with beautiful piano parts, grand violins and classical electric guitar riffs.
Even the “weaker” tracks on the album – like the refrain of the a-little-bit-too-pop A Place In Your World or Lost Without You – maintain that pleasant flavour that prevents you from skipping to the next song (and God knows how many songs I normally skip on pop-rock albums).
It also goes without saying that, apart from their members’ enormous talent, what really works with Flying Colors is the choice of a pop singer for what is basically a progressive rock band. McPherson offers the right balance needed to streamline the import of some pieces, making them more friendly and likeable for an audience that might not be familiar with hard or progressive rock.
Truth is, this album gets better song by song, listening after listening and while I liked it from the beginning, it definitely grew on me at the 3rd listening. More compact and mature and yet less experimental than the first album, Second Nature promises to be one of the most interesting releases of 2014.
Don’t miss their London gig next October 13 (complete tour dates below).
Order Second Nature on iTunes:
FLYING COLORS OCTOBER 2014 TOUR:
10/02 Los Angeles, Ca James Armstrong Theater
10/03 Chicago, Il Aracda Theater
10/04 Philadelphia, Pa Keswick Theater
10/07 Barcelona, Spain Razzmatazz 2
10/08 Milan, Italy Milan Live Club
10/09 Tilburg, Netherlands 013
10/11 Frankfurt, Germany Batschkapp
10/12 Pratteln, Switzerland Z7
10/13 London, Uk Islington Assembly Hall
10/14 Paris, France Alhambra
Watch Mask Machine video: