Music Theories Recordings/Mascot [Release date 06.10.14]
Flying Colors, the prog rock supergroup, are back with their second album just two years after their exceptionally strong debut release. Can they match that high standard? You bet they can!
If anything this album is a little more progressive in sound, take the twelve minute opener ‘Open Up Your Eyes’ with each band member having a little time in the limelight before Casey McPherson’s vocals kick in. I’ve said it before and will again, what a voice! From the almost metal like on ‘Mask Machine’ through to the gentler refrain on ‘The Fury Of My Love’.
The aforementioned ‘Mask Machine’ is their heaviest song yet ushered in with synths and a solid bass from Dave LaRue, before the rest of the band join in and, Mike Portnoy take a bow, his drums really drive this song along nicely.
Close your eyes on ‘Bombs Away’ and you’d swear it was Kansas (check out the mid-song instrumental section for proof), with a 70’s prog feel and I think violin, produce a glorious melody.
They can do catchy melodic rock too; with Neal Morse taking the lead vocals on ‘Lost Without You’ and dig those five part harmonies on the chorus, simply amazing. They use those harmonies again to great effect on ‘One Love Forever’, with Steve Morse laying down a couple of tasty guitar solos.
For that big musical work-out look no further than the three-part epic ‘Cosmic Symphony’. This song takes in many musical avenues, even bizarrely midway through the song switching to 70’s West Coast a la Jackson Browne (possibly Neal Morse’s doing given the sound on his latest solo album). Again another chance to marvel at the guitar talents of Steve Morse on the solos.
This album easily cruises into my year end top 10 and an essential prog rock purchase. The five musicians work so well together, no one member dominates, and each gets their time in the sun. Overall more progressive than the debut yet they still keep their melodic talents to the fore. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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