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Flying Colors Limited Edition

3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 27 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Sony Music Imports
  • ASIN: B0076NAWWA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,995 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Format: Audio CD
Flying Colors is a "supergroup" featuring Steve Morse, Neal Morse, Dave LaRue, Mike Portnoy and singer-songwriter Casey McPherson (the only member of the band I wasn't previously familiar with). Given the musicians involved, you might expect an album full of extended progressive rock tracks with long instrumental sections along the lines of Transatlantic. Instead what we have is an album full of shorter, cohesive songs that still display the ability of the musicians involved without ever losing focus on the actual song. I wouldn't really classify the album as progressive rock; it's more in the pop-rock/AOR territory for the most part, with the possible exception of the final song. In fact, for most of the album I'd never have guessed that Neal Morse was involved if I didn't know better - it's more of a guitar-driven album.

The songs are pretty good for the most part, although there are no real stand-outs and there are a couple of clunkers (Shoulda Coulda Woulda is a bit bland in my opinion). Most of the songs have catchy hooks and choruses while still retaining some originality. Apparently the entire album was written and recorded in 9 days, with an agreement among the band members not to use anything they'd previously written independently; I can't help but think if they'd been able to spend more time they could've come up with a true masterpiece.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Energy... Energy... Energy... This is a much more pure Prog-metal disc than I had expected it was completed In 2012 which makes it fairly recent as far as music projects go ( most take from 1 to 3 years to complete ). There are some cuts like SHOULDA , COULDA, WOULDA, which is simply a full frontal, rock steady, and reach for that Brass Ring Heavy metal cut with no pretentions to be anything else IT ROCKS. I used to love this philosophy when I was a teen ( SHOULDA COULDA WOULDA ) was an ideal that I was hell bent on avoiding, I was not going to be the old guy on the porch saying those three words in terms of the things he wanted to do...I simply went out and did them when the thought occurred to me.. Yes I had a rich and full life. If you like to play your music rather loud and enjoy a steady complex bass line then this could be the disc for you. Flying Colors are growing quickly as a group, they are learning very quickly and I cant wait for the next disc ... Spigomars
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By brian on Nov. 9 2014
Format: Audio CD
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 150 reviews
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Greater than the sum of its parts March 26 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
Frequently, supergroups produce some of the least "super" and most underwhelming music out there. More often than not, we see great players and creative minds collaborating on albums with one another, only to discover, upon hearing these records, that none of the individual member's defining characteristics have been preserved. Instead, these supergroups-- the Chickenfoots of the world-- produce music that's bland and colorless; that is simply "there"; that is, without a doubt, "less than the sum of its parts."

Thankfully, that is NOT the case with this new album. Instead, this record is some of the most inspired playing and most creative music that I've heard from any of the artists involved in quite some time. It is not watered down in the slightest, as supergroups tend to be. Nor can it be caricatured one way or the other; as "prog rock" or anything else. It defies labels. It is, simply put, five guys with unique attitudes toward music coming together to produce something genuinely fresh, new, and exciting. Sometimes it's prog, or metal, or 70's/80's rock, but listening to it you always get the sense that these five guys are playing this music and making it their own-- rather than coming down to from their expertise to play as studio-guys. Everyone shines here, and everyone's going all out. That maybe is why it's called "Flying Colors".

Though I initially had my reservations that this album would simply become another Neal Morse solo project, that has not been the case. Neal's contributions are apparent, but the primary singer/songwriter here seems to be Casey McPhereson, who I sincerely hope will make this project the main outlet for his creativity henceforth. Although, at this point, I'm not sure who is responsible for which songs, the songwriting here is top-notch. Though many songs deal with the same religious themes fans of Neal Morse will be familiar with, at no place is this album as overtly "biblical" as Neal's solo-work. The thematic range is much broader- there are love-songs, songs about hardship, songs about faith, and so on, and while I sense that these topics are dealt with in sort of a "christian" way, they are still portrayed universally enough for non-Christians to appreciate them. Casey's voice, heard most often on the album, is a nice parallel to the other voices in the group and compliments the music nicely.

Mike Portnoy and Steve Morse are at the top of their game here-- though the latter can do no wrong, the former displays once again why progressive music is his home. Over the years, Mike Portnoy's best drumming has not been in Adrenaline Mob, A7X, or the heavier, post-Six Degrees DT albums he has played on. Rather, it has been in Transatlantic and Neal Morse. This album is no exception. Mike is at the top of this game here, and locks in with bassists David LaRue's grooving style perfectly. I think this is his best drumming in a long, long time. It is further proof that, where Portnoy is a just a minor-player in the metal world, he is a prophet in the dominion of prog rock. As for Steve Morse? His playing is astounding. Every note on the album sounds so "right", like he could not have played a better note, or done with more or less. He truly is a master of the craft.

What makes Flying Colors so special is that it is not just Transatlantic + Dixie Dregs + Alpha Rev. It's something much different, and something new. "Kayla" makes us tear up, while "The Storm" liberates us, and the chorus to "Infinite Fire" will call to us when for weeks, even when we're not listening to it. It's an emotional and exciting album, and I sincerely hope that this project will be more than a one-off thing.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
prog metal titans create restrained work of art March 30 2012
By antiman - Published on
Format: Audio CD
i've been anxious to hear this for months since hearing about it, and what a mindblowing album! i believe this to be the best thing to happen to mike portnoy since leaving dt... ( i thought dt was getting 'tired' and apparently he thought the same thing, so wanted to take a hiatus, but the band severed ties and went ahead with new drummer. i think that album is the best they've sounded in a long time) however, here isn't a showy album of prog metal histrionics... HERE is art.

'supergroups' often leave me cold, as is the case with 'adrenaline mob'... it just sounds like more of the same, good, not great. definitely not inspired... it sounded like some killer players having fun and goofing off for a few weeks... but this surprising group of folks have created a real winner...

all the players obviously have the chops to shred for days, but they don't. the songs are wonderful, and the players show off occasionally in very tasteful ways. i love mike's drumming, i am impressed with steve morse and dave larue, (though i've never been a fan of their bands' music, i appreciate their ability) and neal morse is one of my faves, especially for his vocal arrangements.

but the addition of a radio-friendly 'pop' singer-songwriter is the masterstroke of genius here... casey is wonderful and SUCH a surprising addition here. he makes me think at times of john legend, bruce springsteen and daniel johns without sounding like a copy of anyone. i have never previously heard of him, but i'm a fan.

if this album doesn't explode onto the charts it'll be a crime.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
haven't heard anything like this in years... March 28 2012
By Neil R. Andrews - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's a temptation to review this project from a musical perspective, analyzing and comparing each of these outstanding musicians to their previous successes and to other musicians efforts. However, since many other reviewers have already done that and I'd to keep this on the brief side, I will contribute this:from a purely emotional response perspective, listening through the first time, I was reminded of how I felt when I first heard Toy Matinee Toy Matinee Special Edition, Yes: Fragile Fragile, Jellyfish: Bellybutton Bellybutton, Ambrosia Ambrosia & occasionally Muse. Not saying it sounds 'like' any of those, but (as with each of those), it's definitely one of the most fresh, unique, truly musical and melodic sounding projects I've heard in many years. The musicianship is extraordinarily tasteful on each players part and production is exceptional. As much as I really enjoy Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa, the solo guitar work on this recording consistently brings the word 'soaring' to my mind...not showing off chops, but real musical note selection and passion in the playing that actually "moves" me. The engineering and production of the drums is amazingly real and present (minimal use of effects/eq on what already sounds like a great sounding kit), not to mention the playing, of course. Vocals are above and beyond, bass and keys are very tasty and the lyrics are wonderfully meaningful, as well. Every part played is essential to the sound, no filler and no unnecessary flailing. Indeed, there are brief moments one could label as derivative of these musicians individual influences however, the sum of the individual contributions makes this a unique, non-derivative work. This is one of those recordings that I'd be excited to use to to show off a great pair of speakers.
I am reminded of the video of Leonard Bernstein conducting "hands off" toward the end of this wonderful talk by Itay Talgam (absolutely worth the 15 minute investment in your time [...]), Bernstein is so confident in his individual players that his implicit direction is no longer necessary and he leaves them to soar on their own. Because of the mastery of each individual, and their choices to be tasteful rather than flailing, Flying Colors very much soars
Thank you to everyone involved for sharing your passion with us.
BTW, I purchased both the CD and the vinyl here at amazon and have ALWAYS been pleased with their service.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Winwood meets Toto on steroids June 30 2012
By Skoegahom - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I dig just about everything on this album including the second song released for radio consumption, Shoulda Coulda Woulda, but it doesn't seem to be consistent with the rest of the CD. As far as a description, one might think Steve Winwood meets Toto on steroids. In my world of crossover Prog, it rocks, although there's a jazzy bent to some of the songs that keep grabbing my attention. I particularly dig Kayla that comes complete with a Yes-ian vocal interlude and in my reality would be a radio hit. For some of you, some of the songs may seem like pop, but if pop were like this album, I wouldn't have quit listening to the radio many years ago. There's plenty of variety, styles and textures, including the 10cc-like poppy Love Is What I'm Waiting For that sounds like a 70's AM radio hit. It's followed up with the anthemic Everything Changes featuring Santana-ish guitar throughout the song. Better than walking Away pulls on the heart strings with harmonies and a style reminiscent of Journey. All Falls Down seemingly was included to fulfill the short technical program to verify musicianship by all group members. There's a Elvin Bishop quality to Fool In My Heart that reminds me of Fooled around and Fell in Love. BTW, my favorite track is probably the opening song, Blue Ocean that could have been the theme for Winwood's next album. The album culminates in a 12 minute long program Infinite Fire, just to prove these guys are Progladytes. It rocks. It fuses. It jazzes. It is prog. It may not break any new ground, but it massages the landscape with flying colors.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
More Please! March 27 2012
By Neil Evans - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I was already a big fan of all the musicians on this album, with the exception of McPherson who was new to me. In most respects, this album exceeds expectations - it is full of great rock/pop songwriting, memorable hooks, and great musicianship.

It is not Dream Theater, or Transatlantic, or Spock's Beard, or the Steve Morse Band - but it definitely does sound reminiscent of most of those bands (with not as much DT influence). McPherson adds interesting melodies and another capable singing voice (along with the great Neal Morse) to the picture.

I started listening to the album about 27 hours ago and I am on my sixth spin, for what it's worth. There is just so much to like here. Portnoy's drum work is great for the prog/pop/rock style. Neal Morse is incredible (and his songwriting is evident) as always. Steve Morse provides some gorgeous leads, and it almost seems as if his playing was elevated slightly by this project (as much as I always like his solo work). Listen to his Brian May-like lead in "Love Is What I'm Waiting For". Dave LaRue is solid as always and grooves fantastically in parts (Blue Ocean, Infinite Fire, Forever In A Daze). And McPherson, the "wildcard", proves very capable in his own right as a singer, lyricist, and melodic writer. There seems to be a great balance between all the principal players in this project, and it thrives on that.

This is music that transcends genre and really has the ability to appeal to huge swathes of people if they would be willing to try something slightly different. As much as I like heavy music, I think this band is really in its element in the less-heavy tracks. Highlights for me are "Blue Ocean", "Kayla", "The Storm", "Better Than Walking Away", and "Infinite Fire".

Are there any negatives? No strong ones. I wish they would have chosen Neal Morse or McPherson to sing "Fool In My Heart". I don't understand why Portnoy continues to insist on singing - do it live if you like, but this is a classic album that is slightly marred by Mike's OK vocals. Neal Morse would have made that song great.

I preordered the CD / t-shirt / poster package (from a different vendor) months ago, and I will preorder any future offerings without a second thought. Please put out more music!

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