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The Flower Kings - Islands CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.82 | 188 ratings

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Squire Jaco
5 stars Oh, this is the good shtuff...

The new 93-minute album "Islands" from The Flower Kings is genuinely a pleasant surprise. With only three members (Stolt, Froberg, Reingold) from the classic lineup of 20 years ago, they manage to put together a very solid album of symphonic prog with similitudes to their older catalog. Rob Townsend's saxophone touches here and there also hearken back to the days when Ulf Wallander made special guest appearances with some great sax lines. Nice.

I never cease to be amazed at the creativity that flows out of Stolt's and the rest of the band's heads. They just released the very good "Waiting For Miracles" a year ago! (85 minutes long, no less) And I honestly can't identify any songs here that they could have left off the album in order to get it down to an 80-minute single disc package, even if they wanted to.

Oh, and the package - just beautiful, as usual. A triple gatefold case with some iconic Roger Dean artwork to grace the cover. Complete lyrics and multiple pics of the band members are included in the booklet. They do this every time! Amazing,

As Roine notes in the booklet, the theme of the album deals with isolation, loss, and the fear of being disconnected...inspired by the current world pandemic, of course. No long songs here, as there usually are on a TFK album. He also notes that all 21 songs are "connected with themes that weave in and out." He even calls it a "cinematic, colorful...musical journey." Hate to paraphrase like this, but that sort of nails it!

The band members are the same as appeared on the last album, and this seems to be the new lineup. I thought I would miss Tomas Bodin's unique keyboards more, but newcomer Zach Kamins is fantastic, and actually sounds a lot like Bodin in places. How many drummers has the band had over the years? At least five, maybe six? Mirkko DeMaio might be the best one they've had since Zoltan Csorsz. Reingold does his usual thing on the Rickenbacker and fretless bass guitars, making for one great rhythm section. Some great solos from Stolt.

Ah...this really is the good shtuff, folks. 4-1/2 conservative stars for this album from one of my favorite bands.

Squire Jaco | 5/5 |


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