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The Flower Kings - Space Revolver CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 592 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars 'Space Revolver' is the fifth but first album by The Flower Kings released and recorded in the 21st century, coming after four really successful albums, in terms of reception, that had introduced this magnificent lavish-sounding Swedish symphonic prog band to the world. On this album, we get what could be considered as the 'classic' TFK line-up of band leader and guitarist Roine Stolt, also on lead vocals, Tomas Bodin on all keyboards, including moogs, organ, mellotron, synths and pianos, then Hasse Fröberg on vocals and acoustic guitars, on the bass Jonas Reingold, and finally Jaime Salazar on drums. Two additional musicians are also present - Ulf Wallander on soprano sax, appearing very often on TFK albums as a sixth member, and Hans Bruniusson and percussion and some backing vocals.

What is interesting about The Flower Kings is that every album sounds a bit different from the previous one, yet the TFK sound is vey recognizable; and this is valid for pretty much most of their albums released in the 1990s and the 2000s, which as we know, are a lot, so we have a very prolific contemporary studio act here.

The mixture of very long songs, some regular-length ones, and a few really short episodes is used here as well, similarly to the four albums that came before 'Space Revolver'. This album is around 76 minutes long, and is a single-album, of course, so it is interesting how things have changed because this length is pretty much standard for a double-album from the 70s. However, I like to call the songs 1-5 side one, and the songs 6-10 side two, although this is not correct.

Where does this division come from? Well, from my listening experience: I can never enjoy the so-called 'side two' which I consider to be severely weaker than 'side one', much less memorable, and it could have really been reduced a bit. This being said, I have to praise side one, or the songs 1-5, which happen to be pretty damn good and this is why I wish I liked this album a bit more overall.

Opener 'I Am the Sun (part One)' is a 15-minute typical bombastic TFK epic that takes you on a bumpy ride among crazy instrumental passages with great lyrics and memorable choruses, and mellow and pastoral atmospheric sections, a very strong track. Then 'Dream On Dreamer', an excellent short song that serves as a transition between 'I Am the Sun' and the explosive instrumental 'Rumble Fish Twist', written by Bodin ? it sounds like something recorder by Yes for the 'Relayer' album, it is that crazy. The band follows this with another 13-minute epic, 'Monster Within' that transitions into the catchy and enjoyable 'Chicken Farmer Song'. Around 44 minutes of music so far, and I can't help but think that if this was released with just these five tracks, 'Space Revolver' could have been considered one of their best albums.

The rest features songs like 'Underdog' or 'Slave to Money', which are just fine but never impressed me as much as the first five, or the second part of 'I Am the Sun' which sounds a bit bland compared to part one. Simply put, the latter five tracks are the avoidable ones.

Overall, 'Space Revolver' is an album that has its highs and lows, with some tremendous and unforgettable moments, and some weak spots that, in my opinion, should have remained bonus material. However, the band is in great form in that period, and this can be heard on any of their albums released between 1994 and 2013.

A Crimson Mellotron | 3/5 |


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