Flying Colors, “A Place in Your World” from Second Nature (2014): One Track Mind

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Second Nature meets its prog-supergroup expectations via a epic Genesis-inspired, album-closing “Cosmic Symphony,” but I’m not sure straight-ahead pop like “A Place in Your World” isn’t the strength of Flying Colors. That likely isn’t what fans of Dream Theater, Deep Purple and Spock’s Beard — with whom three members of Flying Colors have done their most famous work — want to hear. But it’s true.

For all of its honorable musical ambitions, “Cosmic Symphony” — like much of the Second Nature content that focuses too heavily on the contributions of Alpha Rev’s Casey McPherson — can’t escape the machinations of its relatively unknown vocalist. Too often, he sounds like a member of a hipster alt-rock band who accidently wandered into a session for Manticore Records.

Those kind of head-scratching incongruencies disappear when Neal Morse, former Spock’s co-founder, takes over the mic, even on relatively light-weight material like “A Place in Your World.” Morse has always been just as influenced by Gabriel and Collins as he was Lennon and McCartney, and — unlike McPherson — he balances those two seemingly disparate musical dispositions with a savvy veteran’s aplumb.

Deep Purple’s Steve Morse, who is joined in Flying Colors by fellow Dixie Dregs standout Dave LaRue, displays a canny ability to add just the right flourish — while Morse’s brief organ interludes add enough complexity to intrigue even the most disgrunted prog-head. Well, maybe not. But this, in truth, is who Flying Colors is, in their best moments: A group loaded with talent, but in need of a rejiggering of priorities toward its own embedded prog-pop sensibilities.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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