Flying Colors have joined the ranks of supergroups. Lock up a quintet of virtuoso musicians in the studio for a week or so and presto: a memorable album. Well, not really. Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Dave LaRue (bass), Neal Morse (keyboards, vocals), Casey McPherson (lead vocals, guitar), and Steve Morse (lead guitar) can play extremely well, but the vocals are a bit of a problem.
Singer Casey McPherson is the odd man out, more of a pop guy than prog, rock or metal. Which is fine when you are fronting a pop band, otherwise you'll be out of your depth in no time. Maybe they should have kicked him around a bit to loosen him up. There a few tracks where he lets go - the first pumping rock anthem Shoulda Coulda Woulda and Jethro Tull like slow folk rocker Everything Changes, but he comes up short when the band launches in a Foreigner influenced power ballads like The Storm or Love Is What I'm Waiting For. He gets stuck into a cumbersome AOR phrasing that would have gotten him into the next round of a TV show looking for harmless talent. And that way lies obscurity and finally, the cut-out bin.
Flying Colors should have held a seance and summoned the spirits of Phil Lynott and Ronnie James Dio for some sound advice. On the upside: it's nice to have the Dixie Dregs team of Dave Larue and Steve Morse joining forces again, Mike Portnoy laying down his instantly recognizable drum beat, and Neil Morse going for the wall-to-wall keyboards approach that made him famous when he was in Spock's Beard.
Flying Colors is released on Music Theory Recordings. Release date: March March 26th (March 27th in The USA)Tracks:
- Blue Ocean
- Shoulda Coulda Woulda
- The Storm
- Forever In a Daze
- Love Is What I'm Waiting For
- Everything Changes
- Better Than Walking Away
- All Falls Down
- Fool In My Heart
- Infinite Fire
Touring plans for Flying Colors will be announced in the coming months.