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The Flower Kings - Look at You Now CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 97 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars If you have enjoyed the direction of the last three Flower Kings albums prior to this one, you will be quite pleased with this new offering as well. This is a natural extension of the recent previous offerings and is quite similar in style although perhaps a bit more consistent, which makes this one a bit of a step up. The songs remain for the most part fairly short with the title cut being the lone exception that exceeds 10 minutes in length. It is the last track and well worth the wait, a rather triumphant closer.

As I mentioned in my previous review of "By Royal Decree", TFK have an extremely diverse catalogue of music, often within each album which can tend to create a lot of hits and misses as to what the listeners will want to hear. While there continues to be considerable diversity in this new album as well - ballads to classic rock, some ambient spacey to psychedelic, a touch of jazz elements, and of course, progressive - there is a nice continuity that works well together. There are no misses in my opinion this time around. The success of the continuity may lie within the general theme of the album in that it takes a hard look at many of the problems facing mankind, but does so in a generally positive way, and holds out the olive branch of hope.

I also mentioned that I have had a love and hate relationship with TFK album art. I positively loved the last one. This one is quite unique. I am not sure that I actually like it, but it fascinates me, and I find it difficult to look away. Surely, if this is an indicator of what would lie ahead musically, we are in for an interesting ride! So then, some thoughts on the music.

Beginner's Eyes (4:37) This comes out of the gates featuring a rock style that has hints of a 60's style psychedelia feel with upbeat but irregular and unexpected notes and rhythms. The lyrics are catchy and singable, and the overall message is positive. A great start! BTW, the official video for this track features the cover art eyes, enjoy! (9/10)

The Dream (4:39) This track is an immediate contrast to the previous, and drops into ballad mode with effective synth base, gradually building and building, with emotive guitar work throughout the second half. These guitar leads are one of the great strengths of this band, and are so enjoyable. Again, uplifting lyrics, emotionally engaging. Well done. (9/10)

Hollow Man (5:02) This starts with a bit of a noir musical atmosphere that permeates throughout the track to greater and lesser degrees, and at some points even having a bit of a carnival like feel, yet it is only marginally whimsical, but rather is more serious in its overall atmosphere. Has a good lyrical build up towards the end. Enjoyable. (8/10)

Dr. Ribedeaux (3:04) The first instrumental track. A mid speed effort with guitar and keyboard exchanges that goes by very quickly. (8/10)

Mother Earth (4:18) Opening notes pull up the flavor of some of Queen's early guitar work, quickly followed by ascending keys, bass that pushes the song along. The lyrics are a solemn reminder of man's troubles, with a hope for a change in direction. At about 2:50 guitar solo takes control to a more emphatic vocal finish. Compelling. Lyrics refer to Father Sky, an upcoming track, hinting at how the songs are going to be intertwined, each being a piece of a bigger whole which elevates the unity of the album. (8/10)

The Queen (5:28) The second Instrumental. This one is a beauty! Starts with minstrel like acoustic guitar, builds into harpsichord like keys section, builds with soft electric guitar build up, very regal sounding, back to the harpsichord. Then the guitar soloing gains momentum and takes it to its conclusion. Very Symphonic. A high point of the album for sure. (10/10)

The Light in Your Eyes (5:48) A very powerful track with strong vocals, and memorable lyrics. Mid pace tempo but feels very driven like it can just take off at any moment into a full fledged rocker, but it stays just inside that boundary bordering just a bit with a psychedelic edge. Of note, Jannica Lund's backing vocals shine in this track nicely filling out the vocal range in this song. (9/10)

Seasons End (5:27) Another strong up tempo track opening with keys building into a hypnotic rhythm with effective drumming that all couches some of the best guitarwork on the album. The lyrics are memorable and the chorus sticks with you. This song too has a slight hint of the noir feel, but in a much more lively setting. (9/10)

Scars (5:29) This is a much darker, more cynical sounding piece. This track draws lyrics from the previous one, reconfirming that although many of the tracks are not that long that they are all part of a continuous experience. This will continue to occur in the songs to come. Some jazz flavor, but the rock stylings prevail, and the more intense vocals suggest the frustration that we all have with our inability to solve mankind's problems. (9/10)

Stronghold (6:46) Big powerful guitar opening, attention grabbing. Leaning toward the darker side again as demonstrated by the lyrics of 'following the rabbit down the rabbit hole?. Is there time to make the changes?' Medium paced with a tapestry of synths that catch the emotion of the subject. Another wonderful guitar solo starting around 4:30 to close it out. So good. (9/10)

Father Sky (3:08) This starts almost like a pop rock single, picking up the positive upbuilding vibe again in grand style. It grabs up themes and lyrics from the previous songs and nicely ties things all together. Given that it draws on the other songs it is best to hear this one in context, and yet, it could be a pretty good track for a single. (8/10)

Day of Peace (3:14) The second and last ballad. Again, picks up elements of previous tracks if you are listening for them. The lead vocal is shared with Marjana Semkina of Iamthemorning, what a lovely voice! This is just a beautiful song. More like this please! And it could be a bit longer too. (10/10)

Look at You Now (11:49) The closer, and a darn good one. Opening music and vocals have a definite Yes and Jon Andersen vibe which is okay with me. Within a couple minutes is moving into a more TFK wheelhouse kind of sound with strong guitar work over a power musical run. Gradually drops to an ambient section that begins the rebuild of the song. Tempo is more moderate, and the vocals become more prominent leading to a great positive uplifting finish. Beautiful guitar work lifts it all up and the final chorus is sing along memorable leaving the listener with new hope for the future. An extremely exciting and moving symphonic finish! (10/10)

In conclusion, this is a very good album, in my opinion the best of the last four. While there are a number of shorter songs, they are obviously tied together as something of a concept album which gives this album an overall theme and consistency that the others seemed to lack. The quality of the songs is very high. Kudos to TFKs for keeping the album shorter, at least by their standards, and not offering any filler tracks. This is a solid effort where every song has its place.

Is there anything incredibly new here? For those familiar with TFKs, probably not. But what is here is finely crafted, well produced, accessible, and yet has an impressive degree of complexity, and is obviously a labor of love. If you are not already a TFK fan, you may likely need to listen a few times for the music to fully unfold for you. But be assured, it will be a grower that you should really enjoy. Another solid 4+ effort by the Flower Kings that Is well worth adding to your prog collection.

SilverLight59 | 4/5 |


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