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

STARDUST WE ARE

The Flower Kings

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 436 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

RBlak054
3 stars The Flower King's first double album, Stardust We Are, is very difficult for me to review; while it contains what I consider to be some of the band's best material to date, it also contains a lot of wandering, subpar songs that drag things down and detract from the experience.

The strong melodies and upbeat feel you've come to expect from The Flower Kings are definitely present here, and the majority of the compositions on this record are actually quite strong, sometimes even touching on brilliant. The first disc in particular contains some great pieces, including "In The Eyes Of The World" and "The Man Who Walked With Kings". The second disc, on the other hand, isn't quite as strong and contains many forgettable tracks. This said, it redeems itself in the end with one of the Flower King's best tracks: "Stardust We Are". This twenty-five minute epic is extremely well composed and is consistently good, never getting boring or redundant. It is a perfect way to close the album.

In between many of the longer songs are shorter pieces which act as interludes and serve to connect the pieces and offer some continuity. For the most part, these are very relaxed and are dominated by atmospheric guitar and keys. Despite not being the focus of the album, I really enjoy these shorter songs.

The Flower Kings also partake in some wacky experimentation on tracks like "Circus Brimstone" and "Compassion", adding things like random sounds and backwards speech to the music. The results are sometimes interesting, but more often than not I found them challenging to listen to and made otherwise good tracks difficult to appreciate.

There's one thing you can't argue with, though: this band has talent. Roine Stolt in particular is striking on this album, and you really see his flexibility as a guitarist. His emotional solo in 7/4 on "The Man Who Walked With Kings" and his work on the title track are just stellar. Keyboardist Tomas Bodin provides an array of sounds (strings, choirs, and organs, just to name a few), and while he isn't usually at the forefront, his playing is integral to the atmosphere of the album. The vocals on this record are also generally pleasing; Stolt, who takes over most of the vocal duties on this release, is a competent and likable singer. It would have been nice to hear more from Hasse Froberg, however, who has an outstanding voice and really shines towards the end of "Stardust We Are".

Stardust We Are is plagued by the same problems as many other Flower Kings double albums: there is too much material, and too much of it is filler. As it is a good album I do recommend giving it a listen if you like The Flower Kings (even if just for the title track), but I wouldn't suggest it as an introduction to the band. If you're looking for a place to start, "The Flower King" (technically a Stolt solo album) and "Banks of Eden" are much more consistent.

I will add that you will get more from this album with repeated and attentive listening as many of the themes in the magnificent title track are hinted at and introduced in several of the previous songs and interludes.

RBlak054 | 3/5 |

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