The eponymous album by Flying Colors was played fairly regularly on my iPod in the last few days. Some songs just sound so great, while others are so far over the progrocktop that I'm seriously contemplating deleting the album straight away. And still I come back. Just listen to the chorus of 'Blue oceans' or 'Love is what I'm waiting for' and I bet your sold.
Still, several times I wondered what does this band want to achieve, who do they want to be? The whole hard rock, hair bands, progrock gamut passes the revue and some metal as well. Too many influences into one record. At the same time I noticed that Flying Colors was not exactly a cheap production. Multi layered guitars and synths, violins galore and intricate arranging. Time to check out who Flying Colors' members are. Steve Morse, Neil Morse, Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue of all sorts of fame in the hardrock and metal scene have joined up with the singer-guitarist Casey McPherson to treat us to a 42 year spanning trip of music, scaling the ranges from Deep Purple, Marillion, Toto, Queen, The Doors and undoubtedly all the bands they play(ed) in.
Flying Colors is a trip down memory lane for everyone who loves slick guitar soloing, great melodies and some great drumming. Every other second I'm trying to figure out where does this sound come from, what does this song remind me of, while at the same time enjoying the songs themselves as well. And all this comes from someone who is not exactly a lover of progrock. Usually I get bored fairly soon into the average progrock record. I am not stating that I'm into this album the whole time, but Flying Colors definitely sits pretty high on my prog list. The reason being that there are quite some songs on the album that are just that: songs and not mini (or whole) symphonies. In other words most songs on Flying Colors do not go on forever and most have a refrain you can sing along with.
'Forever in a daze' is spiced up with some Level 42 slap base playing. "Love is what I'm waiting for' has a great Brian May kind of guitar solo. 'Everything changes' comes dangerously close to Cat Stevens' 'Wild world', but takes the right turn just in time. In 'Infinite fire' the band goes all out. How many influences can one squeeze into one song? Every one from Rick Wakeman, UK, Steve Lukather, Jon Lord, The Moody Blues, Yes like singing, etc., etc. And I do not mind for one second that 'Infinite fire' goes all out for a grand finale.
All this makes me wonder whether we need to see Flying Colors as a bit of fun time in the studio as a diversion or as a serious album/band? It may well have been a lot of fun, but the quality of the album and the well thought out arrangements, make me give Flying Colors the benefit of the doubt. The album is simply too well made to be just there for sheer fun. A tribute to times gone by, it may well be. Flying Colors is there for everyone wanting to indulge one more time in good old progrock. Perhaps it's time for you to set old prejudices aside too. I'm glad I did, the band succeeded with ... well ...Flying Colors.
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You can order Flying Colors here