My most recent record store discovery is the self-titled 1987 album by Flying Color. I had no idea who the band were when I first spotted it sitting on the shelf, but it looked like something that could be promising, and a quick phone search revealed that I stumbled onto the one and only record by mop-topped San Francisco quartet Flying Color. It's a bit alarming to think that if I didn't pay a visit to the store that day I might have never found out about this band, because this is one hell of a jangle/power pop album. In fact, it has quickly become one of my favorites.
Made up of guitarists Hector Penalosa, Richard Chase and Dale Duncan, as well as drummer John Stuart (with vocal duties shared across the band), Flying Color formed in 1984 and were around until the end of the decade, but only managed to put out one single ("Look My Way" b/w "Dear Friend") and one LP during that time. It's a shame, because these guys had something special.
Originally the aforementioned single's B side, "Dear Friend" was given a bit of polish to serve as the opener of the album. It's the band's most memorable track and is nothing short of a power pop classic. It's everything a fan of the genre could want out of a song - emotive but not sappy and packed to the brim with ammo in the melody and hooks department. Nothing else on the album reaches quite these heights, but all of it is top-notch. I'd even go so far as to say most of it is better than many power pop bands' strongest songs.
"It Doesn't Matter" and "Bring Back the Rain" are melancholy gems that represent early college rock at its best. More rocking moments such as "Believe Believe," "I'm Your Shadow" and "Wise to Her Ways" keep the energy up and give the collection a bit of an edge, while tracks such as "One Saturday" and "Farewell Song" are simply pure, jangly pop joy. Certain parts of the album even have a bit of a rootsy twang to them, which only helps the material to stand out more.
Flying Color are yet more proof that the best music oftentimes gets the most attention. During its time this LP fell off the radar without much notice, but it's essential for any fan of power pop.
The album was released on CD in 1996, but now appears to be out of print and very difficult to track down. So here, for your listening pleasure, is a vinyl rip:
This album is available to purchase currently on CD with bonus tracks! Get it here.
1. Dear Friend
2. It Doesn't Matter
3. One Saturday
4. Through Different Eyes
6. Believe Believe
7. Farewell Song
8. Bring Back the Rain
9. I'm Your Shadow
10. Wise to Her ways
Also, the music video for "Dear Friend" has surfaced on YouTube. Check it out below.