Flower Kings, The - Fan Club CD 2004

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Self-release
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:16:00

Two words in a nutshell: Ear Candy.

Considering this is merely a Fan Club CD, the quality and production are absolutely astounding. It boggles the mind to think that these artists have several other releases planned and already in the making. One has to wonder when this was actually recorded and how they managed to make it so good.

Compliments of Tomas Bodin are three whimsical scenes trailing Mr. Hope throughout the album. His character goes to the circus, Africa, and Paris. This is the type of music one could expect from Tomas' solo efforts. While these tracks are purely instrumental, they still manage to tell a tale while sharing a common thread of style and technique between them. These are not ordinary days in the life of Mr. Hope. Each one fits the theme of its respective title and chronicles the characters whereabouts during his travels.

While every track is great, there are two that really stand out.

The first is "Space Traveler," a collaboration between Roine Stolt, his brother Michael, and an artist by the name of Ola Gustavsson. Ola plays a slide guitar. Roine plays the electric guitar and something called an E-bow guitar. His brother Michael does the rest, which includes some very good bass playing, keyboards, and drumming. The end result is snappy, witty, and quite memorable. The song is still playing in my head. When you hear it, a comical detective like Harry Crumb, Axel Foley, or Fletch comes to mind. While sneaking around, bungling the investigation, experiencing mishaps and close calls, the audience is captivated by the premise of the story and intrigued to find out what comes next. It is impressive how they pack in so many ideas while taking their time to give every note its due. In some spots, a note hangs or wavers without slowing down the music. There are a number of places where the music is powdered with sugar or salt to make your palette tingle.

The second stunning track is an alternate version of the song "Walkabout." This is a terrific track from Tomas' Sonic Boulevard album. This version may even be better than the original. It is so good it will have fans returning to the scene of the crime. There will be a nagging desire to see what other evidence might have been left behind. This one definitely leaves a distinguishable mark. The impression it makes is fresh and new. You will think you are taking away an original specimen. The joke is on you as this one has been bottled up and stored away on Sonic Boulevard for quite awhile.

As an honorable mention, the bonus track from the second Karmakanic release entitled Sum Of Substance is quite good. Strangely enough, it sounds like something off a Kaipa or Ritual album. A heavy layer of shellacking is splashed onto the surface by the keyboards. The instrument huffs and puffs with a tone that is both poignant and predictable. It is quite easy to imagine a melodrome clicking back and forth while keeping time. The song paints the landscape of a peaceful world where life pours from the lands in colorful flowers, fluffy creatures, and exotic insects. The ecosystem works in harmony as little critters nibble on leaves and pollinate the plants around them. When nightfall is encountered, Krister Janzon shines with a glowing aura during his solo on the lead guitar. This startles the animals into hiding, but they soon find themselves scurrying back as they are drawn to the light. Jonas Reingold's bass tiptoes quickly without disturbing the creepy-crawlers in the soil beneath.

There are also straightforward rockers on this album with elements from Soundgarden and Van Halen. These are the action scenes or the high-speed chase. Hasse howls while he exchanges gunfire with the other musicians. "Psychonaut" adds Metallica's St. Anger to the concoction while "My Poor Brain" takes the same great formula, adds a lemon twist, and dribbles in a couple drops of Deep Purple.

If you are a fan of The Flower Kings and you are not a member of their fan club, the CD alone is worth the membership. As a bonus, throughout the year you get three magazines chock full of interviews, reviews, and news. It is a pleasure to have such goods to nosh on while waiting for the official releases to be rationed out. Being a member of the club definitely has its privileges.

The best musicians on Earth must reside in Sweden, as the album is comprised exclusively from artists of this region. This album is a great introduction to some new faces like Krister Janzon and Ola Gustavsson. The guest list is quite impressive as each makes excellent contributions. If this is charity, it is hard to say who gives the most. They all reach deep into their pockets for a generous donation.

These artists whip up an outstanding album with little to no buzz while slipping off the set to work on their next project. While they might not be making a big deal out of this release, they are treating their fans to a delectable appetizer nonetheless. The Flower Kings have really outdone themselves. This album delivers as much as one would expect from a standard release. If this is the hors d'oeuvre before the grand feast, I cannot wait to see what they will be serving up next. If this trend continues, our bellies will be aching from overindulgence long before the last course.

Space Traveller (13:10) / Sum Of Substance (5:29) / Psyconaut (6:10) / My Poor Brain (5:35) / Mr. Hope Goes To Circus (5:10) Walkabout (alt. version) (6:04) / Mr. Hope Goes To Africa (1:42) / Petit Heritage (2:02) / Mr. Hope Goes To Paris (0:54)

Roine Stolt - guitars, vocals
Tomas Bodin - keyboards
Hasse Fröberg - vocals

Roine Stolt - The Flower King (1994/2001/2004)
Back In The World Of Adventures (1995)
Retropolis (1996)
Stardust We Are (1997/2000)
Scanning The Greenhouse (comp) (1998)
Edition Limitée Quebec (1998) (only 700 copies!)
Flower Power (1999)
TFK fanclub disc (2000) (free CD exclusive to fanclub members only)
Alive On Planet Earth (2000)
Space Revolver (2000)
Space Revolver Special Edition (2CD set) (2000)
The Rainmaker (2001)
The Rainmaker - Special Edition (2001)
Unfold The Future (2002)
Live In New York: Official Bootleg (2002)
Fan Club CD 2002 (2002)
Fan Club CD 2004 (2004)
Adam & Eve (2004)
BetchaWannaDanceStoopid (2004)
Harvest (fan club CD) (2005)
Paradox Hotel (2006)
The Road Back Home (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (2007)
The Sum Of No Evil (Special Edition) (2007)
Banks Of Eden (2012)

Meet The Flower Kings - Live Recording (DVD) (2003)
Instant Delivery (DVD) (2006)
Instant Delivery - Limited Edition (2CD/2DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: April 18th 2004
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website: www.theflowerkings.com
Hits: 2275
Language: english


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