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The Flower Kings - Adam & Eve CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.50 | 455 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This album was the first Flower Kings album that I ever owned. I'd read good reviews about the band in general, and when I looked in stores, the only thing I could find was one copy of "Adam & Eve", sitting there between some absolute crap bands like Fear Factory. It was only $14, so I thought, "Hey, I might as well." I now own four Flower Kings albums, and plan to get all the rest. This is the album that did it. No, it's not "their best work" or "their most progressive work", nor is it "their worst work" nor "their least progressive work". It's pretty much smack dab in the middle of quality for their albums, at least from what I've heard, which consists of this album, "Stardust We Are", "The Rainmaker", and "Retropolis". What I've noticed is that, in reviews for pretty much every album, people say either a)too much filler, b)not experimental enough/too pop-ish, or c)too experimental/aimless. Talk about hard to please. All I hear is "This is the best TFK album ever! I'm eagerly awaiting the next because it will be even better!" or "This is the worst TFK album ever! I'm never going to buy another of their albums because they'll all suck as badly as this one!"

Seriously, this album is very good. Even the "filler" or "pop" songs, as people tend to decry them as, are certainly progressive rock, and, in general, good songs. In fact, most of the time, when people say a song is filler, especially on, for instance, "Stardust We Are", it's because the song is not an independent entity from the other songs, or because it does not explicitly have to do with the previous or next song. All these so- called filler songs are often much-needed transitions between larger compositions, and, instead of making the larger composition longer so that it could trail off into an instrumental, they just separate the instrumental into a separate track. These really help the feel of the album, and I have never felt, ever, that any of them are unnecessary, though they do vary in actual quality. On "Adam & Eve", "Babylon" is just an instrumental extension of "Cosmic Circus", that breaks down at the end to a more sinister tone, where "Vampire's View" starts. Instead of thinking of "Cosmic Circus" as a pop song (mostly people say this because it's not long and experimental) and "Babylon" as a useless instrumental, I hear them and I think really of just one song that happens to be split into two tracks. "Vampire's View" and "Days Gone By" are the same way. They are really just one song, split for convenience or whatever. "Starlight Man", though it stands alone, is actually one of my favorite songs, which is weird, because I usually tend to like long, drawn-out stuff, whereas "Starlight Man" is concise and straightforward. But really, if you could take every pop song on the radio and compare it to "Starlight Man", in terms of lyrical meaning, melodic quality, and instrumental prowess, the Flower Kings blow everything out of the water. Everyone seems to be so obsessed with the song or album that they think is perfect that, whenever the band does something different, they think it's absolute crap. This is really a horrible way to listen to music. If you do it this way, you'll find your perfect album(s) and then refuse to listen to anything else.

That being said, "Adam & Eve" is a very, very strong album. It is also jam-packed with something that most people who don't listen to this kind of music assume that prog doesn't have: catchiness. The Flower Kings make irresistibly catchy music, no matter how weird or normal they are, they always manage to write melodies or lyrics that stick in your head. This album is really full of them. "Love Supreme" is almost a tribute to every progressive band of the past thirty years. You can hear Yes, Genesis, Marillion, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Camel . . . everything's there. Tomas Bodin is a keyboard wizard. He really makes this track. If you hate it, which I actually sort of did at first, just listen to it again a couple of times. It grew on me very quickly. The other epic is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. "Driver's Seat" is dynamic synthesizer and guitar counterpoint at its best. Amazing melody and flowing themes, beautiful lyrics. It just keeps my attention the whole way, as it keeps progressing. And yet it's completely singable. Perfect.

I love "Cosmic Circus", mostly, once again, because of the keyboards in it. And the lyrics as well. They're awesome. "Babylon" is, as I said, a perfect transition between "Cosmic Circus" and "Vampire's View", but I see it as just part of "Cosmic Circus". "Vampire's View" is a love it or hate it track. I, personally, like it a lot, but I can understand where people might not. It's more of a monologue with music, or like a song from a musical (a really good musical) than a normal song, and yes, it does sometimes feel very campy, but what it does, it does very well. "Days Gone By" is a nice extension of "Vampire's View". Great waltz-type thing. It sounds very gothic and dark. The next track, "Adam & Eve", is another hit-or-miss thing. Either you love it or hate it. At first, I loved it. Then I hated it. Then I listened some more and found that I didn't mind the very unserious manner in which it is written and played, and now I like it again. Even if you think it's overly silly for whatever reason (and sometimes I feel the same way), it still contains some of the most awesome bass and drum work I've heard in a long time. Jonas Reingold is amazing in that he can go from jazzy walking to John Myung- and Geddy Lee-eque runs and riffs with what seems to be no effort, and then drop down into a basic rock groove afterwards. My opinion on this song really varies, though, with every listen.

I already talked about "Starlight Man". "Timelines" is one of those songs that is impossible to hate. At least, so far, I've not known a single person who dislikes it, even though it is easily longer than today's radio fare. All of my friends, prog-fans or not, enjoy it, as does my 16-year-old sister who listens mostly to emo, and my mother, who is a Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel kind of person. The movement from frantic, complete instrumental freak-out to smoky, jazzy acoustic guitar is so appropriate, for some reason. The lyrics, once again, are awesome. Very insightful and eloquent. And they've got a sense of humor too ("Like in a big, bold American style . . ."). I already talked about "Driver's Seat". "Blade of Cain" is the final track, and, from the other Flower Kings stuff that I've listened to, it has the most in common with stuff on "The Rainmaker", though it's probably better than half of that album. It's got a kind of weird, spacey, sinister feel to it. Great for finishing up an album that starts with a song that can only be described as ultra-positive. It basically symbolizes the inevitable downfall of what was presented in the first few tracks.

All in all, the album has its masterpiece moments and its "Well . . . I dunno . . ." moments, but it works together marvelously, and incorporates almost flawlessly a broad range of styles. From what other people have said, this album isn't as adventurous as, say, "Unfold the Future", which I have yet to listen to, but that hardly justifies slamming it. It's a beautiful, viable work of music, and definitely worth owning. 4.5/5.

| 4/5 |


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