Flying Colors - Second Nature

Flying Colors Second Nature cover
Flying Colors
Second Nature
Mascot Label Group
Musical investment. This is what the second album of Flying Colors could be understood as. Some decades later this album could well be a cornerstone to remember the prog rock revival of the mid 2010’s. This is not because it reinvents the wheel, neither because it turns our world upside down, rather because it manages to embody all the best elements of this music, boil them on a pot of 70s nostalgy and serve them to the modern reality.
For those unfamiliar, Flying Colors is the supergroup that consists of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse, Dave LaRue and Casey McPherson and this is their second effort. To be honest I’m always hesitant with the term “supergroup” and especially their outcomes. However here the title serves well and the final outcome is glorious – to my ears is better than their first album, “Flying Colors”. And this comes as a natural progression, as the band seems more connected, better tied together… more of a band than just a gathering of great musicians. Pointless to present each member, as they are huge sizes in the current music industry. I only needed to highlight McPherson’s “pop” abilities in the songs’ structure and Steve Morse’s pure return to the genre it magnified him, reviving the prog rock roots of the Dregs. Sorry to say that, but I think that Purple became so confining for his abilities.
Just by looking at the cover of the album, one could tell this is a top-level piece of work, and once we start listening to it, we get rewarded. Nine compositions amazingly crafted – and luckily without Portnoy trying to get the spotlights. And by that I mean that is drumming is still unique and top-class – yet without having to “burry” the rest of the band.
The sound of the album is somehow different than that of the debut album, more traditional progressive. If I had to name one influence I would reluctantly say “Spock’s Beard” of the early-mid period. However that would be confining... and unjust to songs like the prog-folk track “One Love Forever”. Besides, the Colors manage to keep the length of the songs short (with the exception of the two monumental tracks that open and close the album respectively). This gives an extra star to the orchestrations of the songs and to the fact that despite their complex nature they still manage to be approachable to the larger audience (and I write this for good, not for bad).
In general, I don’t present track-by-track reviews, and I will remain faithful to this tradition. However, I need to make a short mention to the direct “A Place in Your World” with its sticky refrain, the monolithic, yet versatile, “Mask Machine” and the over-floated with feelings “Peaceful Harbor”.
Technicality, nostlagia, melody, perfection, ascension. The five definitive elements of this modern prog cornerstone…