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No-Man - Flowermouth CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.91 | 190 ratings

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3 stars I have a longstanding and troublesome relation with this album. It goes back to the first time I loaned it from the library back in 1995. I had the best part of my new wave and art rock adoration behind me and the last thing I wanted to hear was a band revisiting the sound of Japan and Cocteau Twins. Especially the Sylvian cloned vocals warned me off.

Looking from 2010, I like some parts of the album now but it's still my least favoured No-man, and I hold it responsible for not attracting me enough to investigate "that other project" that Steve Wilson was involved in. So in fact I blame it for missing out on my favoured Porcupine Tree years. Of course, it's an irrational and senseless reaction but I need a scapegoat here!

The album is a quite a departure from the proto trip-hop and techno-pop of the previous releases. There are still traces of it, but it also shows the ability of these two guys to create fantastic layers of sound. The opener for instance is very laid back and smooth, but still it has that pervasive quality to get under your skin and enchant you.

My disappointment comes from the dominating silky soft pop lounge mood of the album. It works well for a couple of songs but overall the material isn't compelling enough. A track like Soft Shoulders could have been a fine song if Robert Smith had got his hands on it, but Tim Bowness whispers all life out of it. His voice does not appeal to me for more then a few songs. Compensating it with awkward samples like Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard in Simple doesn't improve these matters. Also the cheesy drum tracks that feature in most songs don't help.

A lot of criticism to say that it is mixed bag for me. Some greatness but also too much dated pop flavours. I won't close the door on it yet though. It's an album that can still continue to grow with the passing of years. 2.5 stars, I'll up it as everybody obviously likes it.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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