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The Flower Kings - Flower Power CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.95 | 466 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Well, where do I begin on this total masterpiece? This was the first FK cd I bought, and it rather spoiled me for all the rest of their albums. This is a truly tremendous work, 2 discs, with superbly crafted, melodic and symphonic music that any devotee of the genre surely can't help but adore. What can I say? The first track, the mega- epic, 'Garden Of Dreams' lasts a couple of seconds under an hour! That is longer than most groups albums! And a wonderful piece it is too! Split into 18 segments that all fuse together nicely, it is diverse and coherent. It shifts between many moods; happy, moody, upbeat, atmospheric and other, more subtle ones. In parts there are deft Yes- like touches, in others, more straightforward rockier ones. Bodin's keyboards shine here, and show just what technical ability he in fact has. I won't even bother to review the individual segments, just take it from me, it has to be heard to be believed. Of course, there are various influences at work here, but they are all garnished with the classic FK touch. This track, on its own, is worth the price of the cd, and must rank as one of the greatest epics ever. Certainly one of the longest! Next is a funny little ditty, 'Captain Capstan', a small piece of enjoyable nonsense that conjures, for me, the image of a jolly Jack Tar dancing on a sailing boat. Just under a minute it lasts, and then comes an even shorter piece, the 5 second bridge called 'Ikea By Night', which is, in fact, simply a short drum roll that leads nicely into the last track on this disc, the Satriani inspired 'Astral Dog'. This is an 8 min piece that shows off just how good Stolt is on guitar. Heavy but melodic, it is a fine instrumental, not typical FK at all. So we end disc one, and if that was all there was, then it would rank as one of this band's best. But no! Now we turn to disc two. Here we have the, erm, 'shorter' tracks. Even though two of them are 11 mins long, and another is nearly 10! We start with the magnificent 'Deaf, Numb & Blind', which is an 11+ min rockier piece, with a wonderful change of melody and style in the middle, before ending as it began. Superb. Now we have one of my favourites, the classic 'Stupid Girl', which is a cross between U2 (at the start) and Simple Minds. Another very different song, again not typical FK. Then is the heavier keyboard and guitar led track, 'Corruption', which is, again, excellent, although, if I had to choose my least fave track on this album, I would probably name this, even though I do really like it! It's just that the rest is so bloody good! A nice Bodin instrumental, 'The Power Of Kindness' comes next, which is gentle and peaceful. Very nice. And that leads to...what is possibly my fave song on the whole two discs, which is no easy choice to make, believe me! 'Psycedelic Postcard' is just what the title implies. A psychedelic journey of nearly 10 mins, redolent with riotous humour and melody. Strange, almost helium inspired singing starts it off, before the music becomes wild and driving. The chorus is classic yes, Hasse Froberg sounding the spit of Jon Anderson here, and that is always a good thing for me. It's the sort of track you sit and listen to with a smile on your face, not easy for a pessimist like me! Next is the haunting 'Hudson River Sirens Call 1998' which is simply a beautiful instrumental. It is indeed, for me, evocative of a river at night and builds slowly before ending without ever taking off. Next? My God! The excellent 'Magic Pie' one of Mr Froberg's compositions. And a wonderful tune it is too, almost a romantic ballad, yet fitting in nicely with the diversity of the album. Then? 'Painter' stirs the senses with its slow, superb melody, and luscious multi-layered harmonies in the chorus. At the risk of repeating myself, brilliant! 'Calling Home' is the penultimate track, an 11 min epic with another superb melody, and some exceptional guitar work. Also an lovely yet subtle change of tempo near the end. And, finally, the instrumental wonder that is 'Afterlife'. A piece that brings part of 'Garden Of Dreams' back to you. (Remember that? The first track, heard hours ago?) It ends sublimely, the final note lingering tantalisingly. You sit there 'Deaf, Numb & blind' before realising the whole experience is ended. For me, this is, without any question, one of my 10 'desert island discs', and maybe the greatest masterpiece of the last 25 years. You will hear very little to equal this, and any true prog fan who hasn't heard it should be drooling with anticipation at getting hold of this any way they can. Masterful. A classic for years to come. Still reading? Go and buy it!
chessman | 5/5 |


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