FLYING COLORS — Second Nature (review)

FLYING COLORS — Second Nature album cover Album · 2014 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
arcane-beautiful
It seems that Mike Portnoy super groups don't just last for a while...they last forever. But If I had to pick a favorite one this would probably be it. I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this project the first time round, and I was even more shocked at how much I enjoyed this album too.

After a pretty good critically and fan praised album, the band have come back...with more prog than pop. I have to be honest, I do prefer the first album to this due to the bigger focus on pop, but this at least shows the band in a rather different light. So expect longer tracks and more experimentation with their song writing craft.

The real reason that attracted me to the band is the voice of Casey McPherson. Out of all the guys in the band, Casey is the one that really surprised me the most (which is funny, cause the the other 4 guys are absolute masters at their crafts). Casey is a brilliant lyricist and vocalist and really is the saving grace for this project (without him, this may just be another prog rock supergroup involving Neal Morse & Mike Portnoy).

I think a good comparison to this album would be another one of Portnoy's supergroups/side projects, Transatlantic who released their 4th album “Kaleidoscope” this year. Now after 4 albums, their new album is alright, but it does feel a bit samey and predictable. And I did fear that this project may suffer from a similar fate. To be honest, when I first saw the artwork and heard the samples from the album, I wasn't overall impressed. But, having set down and listened to it from start to finish, I was suprisingly annoyed at how much I liked it.

Opening track “Open Up Your Eyes” is what should have been a Transatlantic opening track. While I did like “Into The Blue” on “Kaleidoscope”, this song is much better at introducing the album. Starting off with a pretty epic repetitive intro, it climaxes into a great and epic opener.

A track that I'm still on the fence with would have to be the album's single “Mask Machine.” Now I don't automatically dislike this song, in fact most of it I enjoy, but I am very much against the chorus with very cheesy 'woo-hoos'. The bass riff on this song is pretty killer and memorable too.

One of my personal favorite tracks on the album would be “Fury Of My Love.” Very much a ballad with a dark twist, the song really is pushed to the edge with a very passionate vocal performance from Casey.

On the of the albums catchiest tracks would have to be “Place In Your World.” With some Beatlesque sounding moments the big climax is a brilliant catchy chorus full of joy and sweetness.

One of the most interesting tracks on the album would have to be “Peaceful Harbor.” Having a hymn like quality, the music is very relaxing and shows off some great vocals from Casey & Neal. Great arrangement on the track too.

The album closer “Cosmic Symphony” is a song split up into 3 parts. The parts do interweave together well and do show a lot of promise. Not the strongest track on the album, but the final movement “Pound For A Pound” is really the tracks highlight with a beautiful vocal delivery from Casey.

Overall, for some odd reason I went into this album expecting to dislike it. I don't know why I did, but I am glad I came out of it rather liking the album. I do slightly prefer the first album but I think this album holds incredibly well on its own merits. I think they now have established themselves as just more than a super group and I expect a good few albums to come from this project in the future

8.3/10

Genres: Progressive Rock, Pop, Hard Rock, Symphonic Rock

Country of origin: USA

Year of release: 2014
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