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The Flower Kings - Retropolis CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 522 ratings

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The Crow
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The second Flower Kings's efforth is another excellent retro-prog piece... Not really original. But who cares about it with such good music?

The sax on The Road Back Home brings the name Van Der Graaf Generator to my mind, the fantastic Flora Majora has some neo-prog elements, the jazz influences clearly appear in Silent Sorrow and The Judas Kiss, some parts of There is More to this World are like you are hearing Yes... But the enchant this music has, the good compositions, the fantastic playing, the catchy rythms, the diversity, the constant tributes to other bands... Every Flower Kings's album is a true pleasure to every old school prog lover... And Retropolis is another great efforth by this band.

This album is maybe more jazzy than their debut, and less commercial in my opinion... The easy melodies of Back in the World of Adventures and Theme for a Hero are gone, and here you will not find any radio-friendly track like My Cosmic Lover... Retropolis is more progressive, more instrumental oriented, and less easy to digest. But once you've made it, you will find this album is just as good as the previous one, or even better.

The only fact I don't like on this album, are some boring instrumental passages, wich spoils part of the good work made in some songs... I am not talking about things like the good piano interlude Romancing in the City. The epic opening Retropolis, for example, has a slow section wich is just boring. And so is the entire song Rythm of the Sea, the less inspired track in my opinion... The jazz oriented ending of The Judas Kiss is also a bit boring for me. But apart of this little flaws, the level of the album is just excellent.

And of course, another good thing about this album is that it's short... And it doesn't suffer the 2 Cd sindrome. I mean... Stardust We Are has some songs wich easily surpase any track included in Retropolis, but it has also a lot of forgettable tracks. So in general terms, Retropolis is a better album, because except of the too slow Rythm of the Sea, I like every song. And this is the reason I give Retropolis 4 stars, while Stardust We Are, with such incredible songs, deserves only 3 in my opinion.

Best songs: There is More to this World (the best track of the album... Both electric and acoustic parts are great. I specially like the vocal melodies...), The Melting Pot (brilliant instrumental), Silent Sorrow (this is the typical rythmic Flower King song, with a lot of Yes influences... The fast middle section is great), Flora Majora (another great instrumental... The Roine Stolt's guitar shines in the whole track, and I really like the spanish influence of some part of the song) and The Road Back Home (beautiful ending, where Tomas Bodin offers his finest melodies of the whole album...)

Conclusion: The Flower Kings was fully stablished as a solid band in Retropolis... And they surpased their debut in this very instrumental album, where they show all their influences, but under the special and magic personality this band has. Like I said in the review of the previous album, the best line-up and the best songs would come later... But the beginnings of this band were really brilliant, and I think every prog-lover should hear this fantastic music. And Retropolis is a great album to start with... Not too long, with only a few boring parts, and really catchy after the hard first impression. Strongly recommended.

My rating: ****

The Crow | 4/5 |


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