Flying Colors Second Nature

Second Nature is the second album of supergroup Flying Colors and the follow up to their stunning debut release of 2 years ago. With a band consisting of Mike Portnoy on drums of Transatlantic / Winery Dogs and ex Dream Theater , Neal Morse on guitar of Deep Purple / ex Dixie Dregs and Kansas , Dave La Rue on bass of Dixie Dregs and Joe Satriani , Neal Morse on vocals and keys of Transatlantic  / ex Spocks Beard and Casey Mcpherson on vocals of Alpha Rev and ex Endochine you can only expect perfection and for a second time they have not failed to deliver.

Flying Colors (L-R): Dave LaRue (bass), Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar),
Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion, vocals),
Steve Morse (guitar) Photo Credit: © Jim Arbogast

More progressive and closer in sound to Transatlantic than the debut with the band members sheer enjoyment at playing together more evident than ever. 

Opening track " Open Your Eyes " sets the scene perfectly. Running at 12 minutes and 24 seconds it is the sort of epic song these guys can write in their sleep. A piano intro and plenty of time changes and some great bass drum work from Portnoy even before the vocals finally kick in at the 4 minute mark. A great chorus and vocal from Mcpherson and a stunning Steve Morse solo with his perfect melodic tone to the fore. Words don't do it justice and I can imagine in the live setting it to be the perfect show opener.

Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar), Steve Morse (guitar)
Photo Credit: © Jim Arbogast

First single " Time Machine " is a rock song with an aggressive drum rhythm with Mike driving the song along with Dave adding some bass depth to the song.  Casey's vocal again has a harder edge than normal although the song doesn't lack melody. Another Steve guitar solo hits the spot.

" Bombs Away " is another rock song with Neal's Hammond passages that bounce of Steve's riff and Dave's bass giving it a Deep Purple feel to it with Mike adding many drum fills to the mix. Again plenty of time changes.

 Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals)

Photo Credit: © Jim Arbogast

" The Fury Of My Love " is their take on a power ballad with a real soulful edge to it with piano to the fore. Back in the day with a suitable video this would have had hit written all over it. They really can do it all even when playing a ballad their power comes shining through. Casey show his class with an excellent vocal. Steve's guitar solo takes the song up a notch with Mike increasing the pace.

" A Place In Your World " has a Neal and Casey duo vocal that would have fitted well on the first cd . Hints of The Beatles in the vocal and love Steve's guitar playing a solo melodic tone alongside the vocal before the chorus.

" Lost Without You " has Neal on lead vocals  with some soaring melodies and great backing vocals from Casey on a song with a more melodic rock style.

 Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion, vocals) Photo Credit: © Jim Arbogast

" One Love Forever " starts on an acoustic Morse folky style riff with a Celtic influence with Neal's keyboard riff adding to the feel . In fact the keyboard riff really leads the song and keeps cropping up throughout.

" Peaceful Harbor " has a Mcpherson led vocal with a balladic feel and again starts with a Morse acoustic riff.  A song that makes you think with its tranquil feel enlivened by a Steve solo in his finest melodic tone style which he continues over the band orchestration . Some choir style vocals give it some real depth toward the end of the song. You can imagine them playing it live with an orchestra and choir and everyone getting lost in the moment. A real build the song up epic that finishes nowhere near it started. Excellent.

The cd started and also ends with another epic song that flows over 11 minutes with " Cosmic Symphony " finishing the cd in style. In 3 different parts it's vocal leads by Neal and then Casey show some real emotion and every member shows their star quality. Again it moves from a keyboard led song to having a major kick during the chorus. With a real 70's progressive feel to it this would be the song off the album that you would show someone to give them the true flavour of the band. Steve's solo in the middle part of the song is top drawer. Great light and shade as the song ebbs and flows through the 3 parts and I love the way toward the end of the song they interlink the keyboard and then guitar riff .

Each time I play the cd I pick up on something I hadn't picked up on before. A vocal melody, a bass run, a keyboard flourish and a drum fill and pattern  that takes it to another level.

With Hugh Syme providing the superb artwork and a wonderful production from the band with help from co engineer Bill Evans this second cd is everything and more from a band where everyone plays their part to perfection.

We can only hope their is more to come as the more they develop and grow the better they get , and we the listener and fan can only be more than happy about that.

One of 2014's finest moments.

 Flying Colors (L-R): Dave LaRue (bass), Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar),
Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Mike Portnoy (drums, percussion, vocals),
Steve Morse (guitar) Photo Credit: © Jim Arbogast

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