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The Flower Kings - Flower Power CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 604 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Mixed, but Iconic

TFK was creatively peaking around this time. Here is another double-CD release, right after a previous one (Stardust We Are). Roine Stolt (and Thomas Bodin) sure were productive song writers! Unlike other bands where quantity is usually traded off with quality, the opposite seems to be the case with TFK. When they are writing a lot of songs in a short space of time, they tend to be better quality! And prolific they were. The former album (Stardust We Are) was 130 minutes. This album, only a year later, is 140 minutes long. That makes 270 minutes, or the equivalent of about 7 normal-length vinyl albums (!). (And Roine Stolt recorded his Hydrophonia album around this time too). One criticism I have of TFK is that their albums are too long, and usually contain a couple of tunes that would have been better left off, and this one is no exception. Saying this, one cannot help but marvel that the sheer productivity here, and the vast majority (90 percent) is excellent.

As for the music, this album contains the hour-long (!) epic "Garden of Dreams". While I prefer the live version on 'Meet the Flower Kings' to this version (the live version is 45 minutes, as opposed to an hour, but has longer solos), one can't deny there is some great music here. It clearly took a lot of work to compose and record this music! After the epic, CD1 ends with a short drum solo ("IKEA by Night") and a great instrumental built around a guitar solo, reminding me of some of Zappa's guitar-based work ("Astral Dog"). CD2 is like a different album, with mostly shorter pieces, but some great music. "Deaf, Numb and Blind", which opens CD2, is among the best TFK songs, as is the second-last tune "Calling Home". Those two add up to 22 minutes, and provide the heights on this album. In between are a mixed collection. "Psychedelic Postcard"/"Hudson River Sirens Call" is really very good, as is "Painter". "Afterlife" is also great - a wrap-up of Garden of Dreams which ends the album both on a high note, and by reminding the listener of that epic. However, I can't listen to "Stupid Girl", and both "Corruption" and "The power of Kindness" (an organ mirror of one of the themes in "Garden of Dreams") are just OK and (to my ears, along with the decent but entirely different "Magic Pie") break up the flow of this CD. There are many great musical sections though, and if CD2 had involved "only" 45 minutes of the best pieces, it would have flowed exceptionally well. On balance, I give this album 8.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to high 4 PA stars. (Notably, while they are very different albums, this just happens to be the same rating I give to Stardust We Are. Two great double-CD albums back to back).

Walkscore | 4/5 |


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