Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group (2012)
Virtuoso progressive musicians plus a pop singer equals another talent heavy super group in Flying Colors. Drummer Mike Portnoy, guitarist Steve Morse, keyboardist Neal Morse, bassist Dave LaRue and vocalist/guitarist Casey McPherson take their years of experience and record a melodic progressive rock excursion, keeping in mind the need for distinct, individual songwriting. Working out the material in nine days normally would result in a haphazard, disjointed performance- but not for Flying Colors.
“Shoulda Coulda Woulda” has a Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar vibe and Mike Portnoy lays down some serious chart worthy fills and time signature juggling during the song’s conclusion. The follow up “Kayla” alternates between a folk acoustic start and then more of a psychedelic rock arrangement, Casey’s melodies channeling The Beatles and King’s X. Neal has a playful piano spirit running through “Love Is What I’m Waiting For” – another track that contains beautiful old school vocal harmonies in the ELO or Moody Blues vein and Steve Morse delivering a masterful, tasteful solo spot as he has for years with the Dixie Dregs and Deep Purple. The 12 minute closer “Infinite Fire” is the closest representation to the progressive side we’ve known these musicians for the majority of their careers, containing everything from “Life In The Fast Lane”/The Eagles guitar licks, guitar/ bass/ keyboard tradeoff interplay during the instrumental sections and a fusion of pop, progressive, and rock styles into this fine arrangement.
Should be an easy sell as the resumes for these musicians speak for themselves- those who enjoy the classic style with superb pop melodies and harmonies will love Flying Colors.
Rating: 4.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe