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The Flower Kings - Waiting for Miracles CD (album) cover

WAITING FOR MIRACLES

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 268 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Flower Kings' 2019 return must be seen as quite a happy event in the [not so small] world of prog rock, some six years after their last release, one of the most celebrated and productive modern prog bands pleased their followers with a two-disc set of entirely new music, titled 'Waiting for Miracles'. The title itself hints that the band might be referencing the weird state of the world this album happens to be born in, with much tumult and stress gradually penetrating the lives of people - happily, these Swedish gods of symphonic prog offer a collection of uplifting songs that present a different perspective, a more hopeful and beautiful one. We should also note that this new album is strikingly different from the couple excellent releases that came before it in the period 2012-13, that were dominated by a much darker and introverted atmosphere (that is charming in a much different way, of course). Additionally, not only does the band present a sonic shift, but also a line-up one: longtime keyboard maestro Tomas Bodin had left the band, for reasons not necessarily disclosed (but most likely based on creative collisions with the rest of the crew), to be replaced by American player Zach Kamins, a dedicated and talented fan of the band; German drummer Felix Lehrmann had also parted ways with the Kings, leaving the stage to newcomer Mirko De Maio from Italy, another interesting addition to the five-piece band.

So, the big question is, and this has to be valid both for people who are well aware of TFK's catalogue and for music lovers that are eager to explore something new: Why is this album worth my attention? Well, from one side, it is incredibly eclectic - the band venture on to the realms of classical music, free improvisation, electronica & electronic rock, suspenseful prog, and even, joyous flowery pop, so what's not to like about an album that present so many different moods, sounds, and types of songs? As for the lengths of the composition, the listener might either get a 10-minute mini-epic or a 5-minnute instrumental, it is all in there. Another positive of 'Waiting for Miracles' is that it is so uplifting - as mentioned before, this album is a departure from the sound that The Flower Kings last presented with 'Desolation Rose' in 2013; Now it seems like their world is more carefree, more approachable, more easily enjoyable. And another interesting aspect of this 2019 release is that it is quite a memorable one, despite the variety of the songs, and the sometimes-complex instrumentation, the songs just stay in your head, whether you like them or not. However, I truly believe that this is an album of which every single listener can make up something - a meaning, a connection, an interpretation, a criticism, an association; It is an album that allows you to tune in to it and to analyze it, without putting pressure on you. It is an easy-going and welcoming album, and once again, this is on the premise that you might end up loving it, hating it, or just appreciating it for what it is.

Some highlights from 'Waiting for Miracles' would certainly include the epic 'Black Flag', with the gradual build-up of expectation, the catchy 'Miracles for America', the romantic ballad-type song 'The Bridge', the instrumental 'Ascending to the Stars', 'Sleep with the Enemy', another great song by the band, or even the more cosmic and dreamier 'Spirals' from side two. But please do not disregard the rest of the record as unworthy of mention or anything of this sort because there really are no band songs or compositions, you could really have any track as your favorite, and this has to be one of the strengths of The Flower Kings' 2019 offering. Still, it is a record on which the core of the band get familiar with the new kids on the block, and sometimes the results might not be as 'epic' as the listener familiar with the band's previous output might expect, indicating that there are stronger LPs in their discography.

A Crimson Mellotron | 3/5 |

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