- Sum = Greater than its parts
I feared there’d be “too many chefs in the kitchen,” and although at times it may indeed have been the case, it made the final dish all the more tastier as a result! — Mike Portnoy
What happens when you put a group of fabulous musicians in a room to write a killer album? They produce the unthinkable, something glorious, right? Well, not always. For all the talk in Flying Color’s pre-release videos about how they felt like the stars were aligning for this album, they sure managed to produce something which, to my ears and tastes, sounded like decent pop music. Just to clear things up, if this was their aim, they did a really solid job at writing good pop rock.
Now, here are the things you probably want to know about my opinion on the album (after all, you are reading my article). First question: How are the performances? Answer: Great. Second question: How are the songs? They didn’t even come close to doing it for me. Mr. LaRue, Morse, McPhearson, Portnoy, and Morse may have been amazed at how naturally the songs came together, but when you get musicians as good as them together, it shouldn’t take long to hammer out some good pop songs, which is exactly what’s going on here. What’s hard is for a bunch of guys as good as them to meet up and produce high quality, original, ambitious music. I’m not saying virtuoso or technical, but ambitious, something that aims high, that seeks to go beyond the mundane. All I can say is that I hope that they get a hit single and make a huge buck on this album.
Are there no redeeming moments? Of course there’s some great seconds that happen. There’s a couple of good choruses, Steve has a really cool guitar solo on “The Storm,” Mike’s drumming overall fits the music very well and has several sweet moments, etc. But don’t be expecting a prog album here. Even saying this is a prog influenced pop album I think is a bit of a stretch for 90% of the songs. Let’s get to that 10%. The last track, “Infinite Fire,” is the gem of the album. Here’s the thing; it’s catchy, but not corny. It’s got hooks, but doesn’t scream out generic pop rock. Apart from that, it’s got all the prog elements we want from these guys. It doesn’t need to be insane and over the top with time signature changes every three seconds to get its point across. In other words, it’s got all the proggy goodness without being overly pretentious. The themes are great, the vibe is nice and melodic, and I’m not gonna lie, I actually enjoyed the vocals on this one. Amazing, right? At least they closed off the album strong.
I’m going to commit heresy and say that unless you are wanting to add some pop rock to your collection, skip the album and just buy the mp3 of “Infinite Fire”… if you can find just the mp3.