Flying Colors Flying Colors

After the initial shock wore off from the much-publicized departure of founding member Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater in 2010, the prog world's hopes began to swell around his new project, Adrenaline Mob. Their gritty, derivative stab at mainstream metal flustered many fans, so Flying Colors arrive just in time to quell the legions and restore Portnoy's position in the prog pantheon. Each band member boasts a sprawling résumé – guitarist Steve Morse founded the Dixie Dregs, for starters, and, as expected, brings his vibe to the party. Alpha Rev vocalist Casey McPherson adds an immediate pop sensibility to opener "Blue Ocean," while "Kayla" leans more towards keyboardist Neal Morse's pop tendencies from Spock's Beard and his solo work. Propelled by Portnoy's '70s-era shuffling cadence, "Love is What I'm Waiting For" and "Fool in My Heart" take a page from Jeff Lynne's songbook. "Forever in a Daze" spotlights the chordal interplay between Steve Morse and Dregs bassist Dave LaRue, but the prog heat rises with "All Falls Down" with Portnoy's cascading drum fills and Steve Morse's searing guitar solos. Twelve-minute epic "Infinite Fire" lets the band stretch out of pop strictures to spin a multi-part tale reminiscent of the Flower Kings, with Neal Morse doing his best Rick Wakeman imitation. It's not mind-melting Dream Theater wankery, mind you, but Flying Colors certainly scratch Portnoy's prog itch, for now. (Mascot)