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.