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The Flower Kings - Stardust We Are CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 548 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars this album is the one that first demonstrates the immense talent this band has. The debut was solid, but unspectacular, whilst 'Retropolis' was, for me, disappointing, lacking in melody and sounding somewhat disjointed. (See my reviews for these albums.) I know other fans rate 'Retropolis' as one of their best, but for me, it is their least enjoyable. Now this album is a different matter! A two disc ride of enjoyable melodies and superb playing. Although the Kings have their own style, their biggest influence, Yes, still shows through at times. 'In The Eyes Of The World' is quite a heavy, upbeat type of song, the type that doesn't usually do anything for me, but it is a great opener here. Excellent vocals and guitar work. then comes a trademark short keyboard led instrumental, 'A Room With A View' which is very nice, almost reminds me of Tomita. (Remember him?) 'Just This Once' is one of the tracks with a Yes influence. The guitar work is both Howish, and, near the end, Peter Banksy in its tone. A nice change of pace for the ending of this track, slowing down after the medium paced main body of the song has finished. I like this one. Then comes the standout track on disc one, the amazing 'Church Of Your Heart'. This is classic Yes, both in melody, and in vocals, thanks to Hasse's Jon Anderson type harmonies. Even the keyboards about two thirds through sound like something off 'Going For The One'. A beautiful song, and one of their best, in my opinion. Then comes the short acoustic instrumental, 'Poor Mr Rain's Ordinary Guitar' which is very soothing. This leads into 'the Man Who Walked With Kings', which is another instrumental, with acoustic and electric guitar. It is nice, but not one of my favourites. 'Circus Brimstone', again, instrumental, is another monster, one which took a little time to grow on me, but eventually became a favourite. It certainly has a circus feel, mainly thanks to the keyboards, and it is very complex, with many changes in speed and instrumentation. Superb. 'Crying Clown' sounds almost like a continuation of 'Circus', and is a short instrumental. 'Compassion', as far as I can tell, is unique amongst Flower Kings tracks, as it doesn't really sound like one of their songs. You can still tell Roine's voice, but the music is laid back and monkish in nature, especially the backing vocals. It is effective though, and, just when you thought it had finished, it starts again with some disturbingly atmospheric synthesiser work, very good indeed. Disc 2 opens with another short instrumental, 'Pipes Of Peace', which introduces for the first time the melody of the title track. More excellent keyboard work here. 'The End Of Innocence' is quite moody, and not one of my faves, but is still a decent effort. 'The Merrygoround' is more in the style of Yes again, uptempo, with nice guitar work. 'Don Of The Universe' is a fine instrumental, well played and uplifting. 'A Day At The Mall' is, again, a keyboard instrumental, short and amusing. 'Different People' is another Yes type song, again, catchy and melodic. 'Kingdom Of Lies' is upbeat, and again has a Yes influence. 'If 28' is a very atmospheric instrumental. I like this one a lot. Likewise, 'Ghost Of The Red Cloud' with an almost reggae feel to it, is superb. 'Hotel Nirvana' is another short, atmospheric guitar piece,really lovely, and quite disturbing, although it hardly gets going before it has to make way for the album's final piece, the title track and 25 min plus epic 'Stardust We Are'. Very much influenced by Yes, this is in three parts, all wonderful. One of the classic Flower Kings tracks. Roine sings the first two parts, then Hasse does his Jon Anderson impression to bring the track to a fitting, soaring climax. Even the guitar work as the track ends is reminiscent of the guitar work ending 'Awaken' off 'Going For The One'. Tremendous stuff! Overall, this is probably my third favourite Flower Kings album, and, for me, has no filler. Highly recommended for any fan of technical, complex, Yes influenced prog. Stop reading this and buy it!
chessman | 4/5 |


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