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The Flower Kings - Paradox Hotel CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 553 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I am one of those who use to say that TFK should better release single CD's instead of double ones, in order to avoid the filler and select only their best stuff. With that thoughts in my mind the first two listens of Paradox Hotel were, as I expected, a little hard to complete, and I initially thought that 50% of the album was filler. Well, it isn't. This is the typical grower, the album wins with every listen and after you are used to listen to it you can really see that it is full of gems. This work is also more song- oriented, with less improvisation and more well-thought compositions. The style could be compared with Stardust We Are with some bits of Adam & Eve. The album begins with the same ping-pong nonsense that began the Retropolis album, which is fun anyway, and then it gives pass to Monsters And Men, the epic of this album. This is a typical TFK epic with lead vocals shared by Hasse and Roine. The track is a very dinamic one, features good Yes-like melodies (I can't help but remembering "The more We Live Let Go" from the Yes' Union album when I listen to TFK repeating the chorus "The more you look, the more you try...") and the different parts are well bridged with entertaining and inspired guitar work. It may not be their best epic but it's a good listening experience. The rest of the fisrt CD is comprised by several types of songs: the short slow melodic ones, all of them very pleasant with beautiful melodies (I love the psychedelic Lucy Had A Dream and the quiet and lovely "Mummy Leave The Light On), a pair of Yes-style ones (the catchy chorus on Hit Me With A Hit was the first melody that I found myself singing after a pair of listens of the album),a good instrumental (Pioneers Of Aviation), and a new dark and theatrical song, Bavarian Skies, in the vein of "Vampire's View" from their previous release. Not bad. The second CD begins with three tracks that remind me of three big names in prog music: Minor Giant Steps is a good melodic track in the vein of Yes, Touch My Heaven sound similar to Pink Floyd circa Dark Side era (specially the Gilomuresque solo at the end with backing chorus). And Unorthodox Dancing Lesson seems to be a sort of tribute to King Crimson, you can even hear the same melody of certain part of Lark's Tongues In Apic. Anyway that songs are not ripp-off, they use the 70's prog inspiration but make new interesting music with it. After that three songs there are several less interesting tracks (4,5,7) but then the title track gets you to wake up again. It's not a prog rock track really, it would have fit on Roine Stolt's last solo album, as it is very blues-rock oriented, but it's really good, and it really rocks! Finally we arrive to Blue Planet, a delightfull tune with beautiful melodies and emotional singing by Roine. I am convinced that this is the best album to date by The Flower Kings. It does have 3 or 4 weaker tracks but most are gorgeous. You simply have to let them time to grow on you. Highly recommended.
eddietrooper | 4/5 |


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