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The Flower Kings - Islands CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.82 | 183 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars When one of your favorite bands starts doing the same stuff over and over again, it is the listener's responsibility to acknowledge that. When The Flower Kings returned in 2019, after some six years of artistic pause, everyone was rightfully happy, as these Swedes are among the top prog rock bands of the 90s generation without a doubt, owing this to their eclectic and retro sound, and the cast of extremely talented virtuosic musicians associated with the band. After a rather unimpressive thirteenth studio album, they surprisingly released another one in 2020, the double-album 'Islands', featuring a lovely artwork by Roger Dean. This new incarnation of TFK features some personnel changes, we have to say, these being a new drummer from Italy and a young keyboardist from the US, with everyone wondering where did Tomas Bodin go.

'Islands' sees the band take on a new approach to songwriting, and this is writing exclusively shorter songs, or at least, shorter for their standards. There are no epics this time, and not a single song exceeding ten minutes of playtime. The Flower Kings present an interesting collection of 21 songs, spread over two discs that are running for about 90 minutes, and these songs are quite different from one another! Despite this fact, after repeated listens, you cannot help but think that they are merely presenting all the musical elements that are associated to their name, in a big, long ride, where most of the songs are quite enjoyable, and a few are quite forgettable. Some highlights have to be 'Racing with Blinders On', 'Black Swan', 'Broken', 'Tangerine', 'Solaris', 'All I Need Is Love', 'Serpentine'.

Overall, 'Islands' is a good album, not essential or groundbreaking for the band, just pretty decent, elegant and well-played, with not much separating it from the previous one, except for the fact that it has more intriguing sounds. Not their best release, and certainly not a bad album, 'Islands' will go down as a nice addition to TFK's catalogue.

A Crimson Mellotron | 3/5 |


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