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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover

PARADOX HOTEL

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 396 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
2 stars PARADOX HOTEL is one of those double albums which contain a few nice ideas but, after a while, pretty much all of them are spoiled. Take the 22-minute opening epic, 'Monsters and Men'. The first fifteen minutes or so sound quite exciting, and Roine Stolt even treats us to one of his best ever guitar solos, but then the music starts to drag, and the thing ends not with a bang but with a whimper. Same problem with the twelve-minute 'Minor Giant Steps', the opening tune of the second disc: optimistic symphonic pop with glorious church organ outbursts - but the middle section is totally forgettable.

At the same time, one of the FK's most serious problems is that they sound oh so earnest, well-intentioned, over-emphatic... Supposedly sensitive ditties like 'Mummy Leave the Light On' don't make this listener feel anything; they just get on his nerves. 'Bavarian Skies' must be the most superfluous anti-Hitler ballad ever; as soon as you consider how Tom Waits or Randy Newman might treat this kind of subject, you realise Roine Stolt has a LOT to learn about singing-songwriting. What on earth is the point of 'The Unorthodox Dancing Lesson'? It just sounds like a totally superfluous attempt to rewrite 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part Two'.... 'Man of the World' sounds like classic Yes performing a track by U2 and will satisfy admirers of neither band. By 'What if God is Alone' (the 7th track on the second disc) the music has become so portentous the listener switches off altogether.

Fortunately, there are a few points of light. 'Jealousy', on the first disc, has a lovely romantic melody. 'Pioneers of Aviation' is a soaring instrumental, which makes me wish the Flower Kings would drop the vocals altogether. 'End on a High Note' sounds fairly uplifting, and 'Blue Planet' is a charming ballad with interesting developments on church organ. All in all, there must be about 45 minutes of truly enjoyable music on the entire double album. Where are the days bands had outside producers to guide them?

fuxi | 2/5 |

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