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Flying Colors: Second Nature

Second Nature is of course the sophomore release from the progressive/pop supergroup known as Flying Colors, comprised of Neal Morse (Keyboards, Vocals), Steve Morse (Guitar), Mike Portnoy (drums, Percussion), Casey McPherson (Vocals, Guitar), and Dave LaRue (Bass). With a musical pedigree that includes such acts as Dream Theater, Dixie Dregs, Kansas, Spock's Beard, Deep Purple, Transatlantic, Winery Dogs, Steve Morse Band, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Alpha Rev, Adrenaline Mob, and more, these guys have taken that wealth of experience and created another album filled with intriguing and exciting progressive rock that also features a wealth of pop & hard rock flavors. If you loved the debut from Flying Colors, then Second Nature is the natural extension and sure to bring a smile to your face.

Flying Colors have seemed from the beginning to try and create hook laden, memorable rock/pop songs but with the framework of classic progressive rock. Well, they've managed to again make this formula work, as the two lead vocalists Neal Morse & Casey McPherson once again work so well together on such addicting fare as "A Place in Your World", the soaring ballad "The Fury of My Love", the Celtic flavored "One Love Forever", and the emotional, heart tugging "Peaceful Harbor". However, I'm sure many people are drawn to this band to hear the hard charging prog epics, and there are a few here, including the magnificent three part "Cosmic Symphony", which channels not only The Beatles, but also Jimi Hendrix, The Moody Blues, Genesis, and Yes, complete with engaging keyboard textures, gymnastic guitar solos, and nimble rhythms. "Bombs Away" is a prog tinged heavy rocker, complete with some great riffs from Steve and Neal's expert Hammond organ tones. Portnoy adds in some intricate drum fills on the melodic prog/pop number "Lost Without You", a really enjoyable, memorable piece that reminds of classic, symphonic Spock's Beard, as Neal & Casey just soar to the heavens together amid rich instrumentation. "Mask Machine" is another heavy prog number, as catchy vocal hooks combat throbbing bass from LaRue and weaving lines from the Morse's, while the vibrant 12-minute "Open Your Eyes" is energetic modern progressive rock at its best, Neal slipping in all sorts of vintage keyboard sounds and Steve delivering tasty speed picking & emotional legato lead lines, with Portnoy & LaRue digging deep underneath.

As much as I enjoyed their self-titled debut, I'm going to go out and say that Second Nature surpasses it on almost every level. With stunning artwork courtesy of the legendary Hugh Syme, it's a great immediate presentation, and the sumptuous production by the band (along with Bill Evans, who co-engineered the album and remained as Executive Produce) just sounds spectacular, giving all of these varied and richly textured songs plenty of clarity and life. Basically, there's something for everyone here, plenty of complex progressive rock, melodic pop, and hard driving heavy rock. With the stellar past accomplishments of everyone involved, we shouldn't expect anything less. I think we can now stop calling Flying Colors a 'project'...this is indeed, a BAND.

Track Listing
1. Open Up Your Eyes
2. Mask Machine
3. Bombs Away
4. The Fury Of My Love
5. A Place In Your World
6. Lost Without You
7. One Love Forever
8. Peaceful Harbor
9. Cosmic Symphony
I. Still Life Of The World
II. Searching For The Air
III. Pound For Pound

Added: September 14th 2014
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 4270
Language: english

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