Flower Kings, The - Flower Power

Year of Release: 1999
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: IOMCD046/SPV 092-31762 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 142:09:00

The ghost of Genesis is alive and well in The Flower Kings. But, that bold statement is only true for part of this album - maybe only for those first opening notes, as there is a definite Pink Floyd influence in there, too. Witness the guitar solo during "All You Can Save" - no it doesn't sound like David Gilmour, but contains the same soaring leads ? the effect is the same.

For those who are already familiar with this band, this doesn't come as news. And despite this being my first listen to the Flower Kings, other than a track here and there (the recent Genesis tribute The Fox Lies Down being one of them), I'm not surprised either, because I've read the comparisons, read the reviews. So, I've been always meaning to check out what the Flower Kings were all about, but seeing the import prices, I thought I'd wait until the were released domestically - especially since there are so many great new labels out there releasing stuff on this side of the Atlantic. In this case it's Inside Out America, so when I saw this in my local Tower Records, I had to pick up. I guess, as Flower Power is a two disc set, I'm diving right in at the deep end.

I was sold on this after the first five seconds (or thereabouts). Not because it sounds like Genesis, Pink Floyd, 60's rock, etc., etc., all wrapped into one - but because I think it is so damn good. Sure, a lot is played on an epic scale - the big bold gestures, not just soaring guitar leads, but the keyboard leads, the booming drums, the bass? this great, uplifting, energetic stuff. And then you get shimmering, subtle pieces like "Garden Of Dreams" - which has that show tune kinda feel about it (okay, I'm seeing something like West Side Story here, if the setting were the land of Oz, and the Wizard were someone who look like, oh, say Brad Pitt*). And I guess we can bring in the Rockette's or Fred Astaire for "Don't Let The Devil In." (Hmm, Stolt in a tux and tails, doing a tap-dance to a metal beat? would that make it Michael Flatley, then? Though this is far from Celtic).

And then there's the moody atmospherics of "Dungeon Of The Deep," which in addition to it's decidedly underwater feel, has operatic choral voices check in for a few seconds. Close your eyes, though, and you're deep-sea diving, perhaps floating around the remains of the Titanic? or perhaps a Spanish galleon, a Viking longship? Then ? gentle piano notes float up from these depths accompanied only by Stolt's quiet vocals on "Indian Summer"?building with thunderous drum rolls and crashes, swirling piano?

"The Mean Machine" which precedes it will remind one of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, "On The Run" is what I'm thinking of here.

The first disc consists mainly of the sidelong suite, "Garden Of Dreams" of which the tracks mentioned above are only a small part. Three additional tracks round out the disc, though one is more sound effects than music and the second is a five second drum intro.

Disc two contains even more of this great stuff - "Stupid Girl" even has a section that is very much like heavy jazz-rock, with some great leads by Stolt. In fact, if the band weren't so good at what they do, this wouldn't come off as well. "Psycedelic Postcard" can be downright weird in spots, and looking at the lyrics you don't half wonder if Stolt wasn't smoking something funny at the time he wrote it.

Maybe my surprise is that this so unlike their brethren Anekdoten and Landberk - who tend to paint their musiscapes with darker colours - like the album cover, Flower Kings are bright greens, yellows, oranges, purples?psychedelic colours. Does this make them better than Anekdoten or Landberk? No, just different. Oh yes, very, very different. And put this among the most exciting stuff I've heard in a while?

*Personally, I'm more a fan of Harrison Ford, but I can see Pitt's appeal.

Disc One: Garden Of Dreams: Dawn (1:34) Simple Song (1:49) Business Vamp (4:57) All You Can Save (5:01) Attack Of The Monster Briefcase (3:01) Mr. Hope Goes To Wall Street (1:49) Did I Tell You (3:47) Garden Of Dreams (2:39) Don't Let The Devil In (3:11) Love Is The Word (2:50) There's No Such Night (2:42) The Mean Machine (2:34) Dungeon Of The Deep (4:39) Indian Summer (4:13) Sunny Lane (2:03) Gardens Revisited (3:22) Shadowland (5:02) The Final Deal (4:32) / Captain Capstan (0:55) / IKEA By Night (0:05) / Astral Dog (8:00)

Disc Two: Deaf, Numb & Blind (11:09) / Stupid Girl (6:49) / Corruption (5:55) / Power Of Kindness (4:25) / Psycedelic Postcard (9:50) / Hudson River Sirens Call 1998 (4:25) / Magic Pie (8:19) / Painter (6:45) / Calling Home (11:00) / Afterlife (4:34)

Roine Stolt - guitars, lead voice, keyboards
Tomas Bodin - keyboards
Hasse Fröberg - lead and backing voice
Michael Stolt - bass
Jaime Salazar - drums
Hasse Bruniusson - percussion

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: Symphonic Prog

Origin SE

Added: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.flowerkings.se
Hits: 1195
Language: english


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