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The Flower Kings - The Sum Of No Evil CD (album) cover

THE SUM OF NO EVIL

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 443 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars Not having heard a newer TFK album since Space Revolver (dating from 02), I decided it was high time to revisit the group's now extensive oeuvre,, or at least a tiny parcel of it. Avoiding the controversial Adam & Eve album, I opted for their latest Sum Of No Evil, which dates from late 07, which means that we're bound to be presented at least a double disc of "fresh" studio material of theirs anytime soon.

Anyway, pasty the Nemo/hippy artwork, SONE is a typical TFK album that's kept their line- up intact (or almost) and their sound palettes (vintage AND modern) alike, always fiddling with a tightrope between retro-prog and neo-prog. And of course we get the same type of (uselessly?) complex tunes, impeccable musicianship with excellent virtuosity, a positive- minded Yes-like music attitude (if you're a fan of Univers Zero, better go elsewhere), that dabbles between the symphonic to the slightly jazzy realm., and tons of hours spent out of labour of love for this album. We'll find the odd excellent chord progression (although you'll also find some very clumsy liaisons as well), but usually the effect is ruined because we're going from a Yes plan to a ELP line, even sometimes pulling some soundscapes from Anglagard's two albums. Elsewhere, the shameless Yes plundering gets almost sickening in the endlessly repeated chorus line of the album-closing Life In Motion: "It's like coming coming home again" over a lapsteel guitar ala Howe. And it's pretty hard to tell which song you're except for the Thomas Bodin-penned Flight 999, the only track that is sonically different, but even then it sort of sticks out like a sore thumb.

But at the same time, we also get the usual never-ending borrowed soundscapes from Yes, Genesis, (I mean, there IS worse influences for your music) we get the needlessly overlong songs and general useless meandering to prolong an over-exploited theme (sometimes going as far as flogging a dead horse). What's even worse is that these flaws/qualities (depending on how you look at it) are done ON PURPOSE, to show us what "prog" is, to show us they can do it, better than anyone else. Don't get me wrong, TFK does what it does well, if not extremely well, but I doubt of the sincerity of their artistics and aesthetics. The group goes out of its way to write in such a "prog" manner, because they know they can dish it out to more or less discerning fans who've been buying the same Flower Kings album over and over, but this time with mayonnaise instead of ketchup poured all over it. It (SONE) is completely redundant and I can only come back to tell you that you own one TFK album, you own them all. Dare I even say that if you don't own any TFK, you're quite a bit better off in terms of shelfspace, let alone in life quality.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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