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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover

PARADOX HOTEL

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.72 | 396 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
4 stars ''You're stuck in between the flower kings and your dreams''

Paradox Hotel is the follow-up to Adam & Eve, which was the album that left-behind the jazzy roots: Ulf's sax and Jonas' fretless bass. With Paradox Hotel, The Flower Kings confirm they'll leave those influences behind for now. On the bright side, Paradox Hotel is a full-blown Symphonic Prog album, while Adam & Eve wasn't, or maybe it was, but it headed sometimes way too dark mood-wise or sometimes way too soft, in which it didn't make it flow that well. Also another worthy mention, is the consistency of this double-album, seems like Adam & Eve and Space Revolver joined together to make a double-album, consistent-wise, however stylisticallyt this and Adam & Eve doesn't have anything to do with Space Revolver

About the music, I can tell you there are the obvious stand-outs, which are really worthy songs for any Modern Prog fan, and then there's the enjoyable ''short''(for Flower Kings standards) tunes.

Onto the standouts: one of them is Monsters & Men, this is one of those epics which are really hard to digest from the first listens, since the melodies are not instantly grabbing, nor the solos, and much less the whole composition. However with many close-payed-attention listens, you'll be understanding the song more and more. The composition itself, still remains somewhat of a puzzle for me, some very gentle parts which flow well with some more melodic or heavy ones, but then there's the complex sections which for me are out-of-place. However the main melody, like in every Flower Kings epic, it's fantastic, and develops very well, through the moog and/or guitar. The musicianship, as always, is outstanding, however there's a notable main character in this epic, this is Tomas Bodin with his excellent piano playing, barely heard before, and his always stunning moog solos.

Another highlight is End on a High Note, compared to Monsters & Men, this seems like pop, haha, though it's not. It's much more accesible; the melodies are catchy, there's much less mood changes, it's mainly soft lead by a up-lifting acoustic guitar and sweet vocals. I find it wonderful allthrough, though it's definitely the weakest and less complex of the standouts.

The opener of Disc 2, Minor Giant Steps, is another highlight, and what a highlight it is! Flower Kings fans must check this song out immediately if they haven't. It grabs you instantly, with it's fantastic composition and amazing musicianship, it's definitely a killer ''short'' Symphonic piece. Full of modern moog, resembling the giants as Rick Wakeman, as well as the mellotron, ala Tony Banks, as well as showing the capabilities of new drummer Marcus Liliequist. If you want to know how The Flower Kings sound, this song is one of them to check out first, even if it's not their best.

The last standout, is the closer of the album, Blue Planet. More rewarding than End on a High Note, though by no means in the complexity heights of the other 2. However, the other 2(Monsters & Men and Minor Giant Steps) don't give you such a delightful listen like this one does. Blue Planet is like a 'overture', re-taking the main melodies from the album and twisting them a bit, however by definition a 'overture' is completely instrumental, in which this is not the case, as well as not being the case of opening the album, the contrary, closing it. Blue Planet is a fantastic closer, quite melancholic in bits, as well as being a great summary from the best of this album.

Anyways, the album is not only composed by those 4 highlights, the rest of the album is essential to make this album what it's worth, with songs like Life Will Kill You and Paradox Hotel being straight-forward rock songs with some slight-prog leanings to make the album more enjoyable and digestable allthrough, then there are 2 more Prog tracks, which are excellent, these are Pioneers of Aviationm with some outstanding moog work, and then there's Unorthodox Dancinglesson with it's, sort-of, dissonant melodies making it a quite complex and weird instrumental for The Flower Kings.

Paradox Hotel is the first Flower Kings double-album which is enjoyable all-through, despite having less quantity of extraordinary compositions like in other double-albums, this stand-outs excellent due to it's consistency, as well as for the mentioned standouts which are very rewarding.

Highly recomended for Modern Symphonic Prog fans.

The Quiet One | 4/5 |

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