Fly­ing Col­ors

Guitar Techniques - - Music Reviews -

Mas­cot La­bel Group

Fly­ing Col­ors are fright­en­ingly good! In­ven­tive in­stru­men­tal pas­sages open up de­cep­tively sim­ple songs into new di­men­sions - and boy does it work. Their de­but al­bum ap­peared in 2012, so is this their prover­bial ‘dif­fi­cult’ sec­ond? Err… no! This is a band with the abil­ity and con­fi­dence to cre­ate mu­si­cal mag­nif­i­cence. The open­ing track, Open Up Your Eyes, is almost an al­bum in it­self, with a four-minute in­tro be­fore the vo­cals be­gin; it then goes on to reach a stun­ning multi-note cli­max. With Steve Morse on gui­tar, Casey McPher­son on lead vo­cals, keys and gui­tar, Neal Morse on keys, Dave LaRue on bass and Mike Port­noy on drums, we won­der where they find the time for this as they’re all so busy with other projects. This is a long and su­perb al­bum and it’s hard to pick out high­lights; but try A Place In Your World for an easy in­tro­duc­tion. Think of Mahavishnu on steroids with nice pop-rock vo­cals and you’re in the ball park. Bril­liantly, prog­gishly cool! work on Start­ing Gun and we love the way this track builds as it pro­gresses with some truly evil sound­ing gui­tar work - so not all light-hearted. The al­bum winds up with a bluesy shuf­fle that also fea­tures Bill Blue on gui­tar and Adam Gus­sow on har­mon­ica. At just over 35 min­utes this is a short run­ning al­bum, but it is un­de­ni­ably sweet so do check it out. re­hearsed they did each track in one take! Well ac­tu­ally Martin and Dan tried two ver­sions of Still Loving You Tonight but used the first one any­way! It’s a great com­bi­na­tion of re­ar­ranged Jethro Tull songs and bluesy stan­dards and, un­like the prover­bial live al­bum has far more ap­peal to a wider au­di­ence. Some of the Tull ma­te­rial has been given an en­tirely new lease of life - just check out tracks like New Day Yes­ter­day, Sweet Dream and Lo­co­mo­tive Breath; th­ese are great ar­range­ments - not bet­ter than the orig­i­nals, just dif­fer­ent. While Dan has the per­fect voice for this band, Martin is as fresh and in­ven­tive as ever. This al­bum is a de­light. jazz and psychedelia in there - good mu­si­cian­ship too. Cu­ri­ously, last year they de­cided to build an ana­logue stu­dio in Brighton that also serves as home and it’s that close con­nec­tion that makes this mu­si­cal ex­trav­a­ganza work. Much of the ma­te­rial has ob­vi­ously evolved along the way. With in­ter­est­ing har­monies and song struc­tures this is mu­sic out of nor­mal space and time and is mighty re­fresh­ing as a re­sult. Too off-the-wall to hit the big time quite yet per­haps, but there’s plenty here that sug­gests some­thing spe­cial could be just around the cor­ner. Billy’s, the force and fi­nesse of Stevens’ gui­tar work is what al­ways lifts th­ese re­leases above the rest. With Trevor Horn tak­ing on the bulk of the pro­duc­tion and Greg Kurstin pro­duc­ing two, this is one meaty and riv­et­ing al­bum that, once on, you can’t ig­nore. The songs are hard-hit­ting rock; melodic, with thought­pro­vok­ing lyrics, all beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted with force. This is mu­sic from the streets and the lyric of the ti­tle track could be taken as a re­flec­tion of Billy’s life story, and with his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Danc­ing With My­self, about to be pub­lished that is some­thing very much on his mind at present. This is a su­perb al­bum - check out Bit­ter Pill, Post­cards From The Past and Whiskey And Pills for flashes of gui­tar ge­nius. But this is full of great songs and that’s why we love it so.

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