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4.7 out of 5 stars17
4.7 out of 5 stars
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The bass player left and the bottom end dropped off somewhere on beachyhead then this became something of a soliloquy. A big feverent banging of drums, keeping the whole edifice shuddering together. Without the beat battering the whole concoction would split at the seams. Lydon built layers of the surreal in compressed fragments as Atkins and Levene's basic hallucinogenic foundations grew taller. Finally drawing on Levene to structure the musical madness on the desk whilst he kept himself intact through a daily heroin insertion.

Drawing middle eastern mystical melodies with found objects the whole thing is a glorious descent into a fevered nightmareworld where elements rise and fall in tempo with Martin Atkins banging the beat. It became the template for modern Swans who drew searing guitars on a thrash band primeval adrenaline drum blast.

It rubs shoulders with Pere Ubu's New Picnic Time for off kilter madness, The Pop Group's first and the Germanic experimenters for taking found elements and looping them into a structure.

This was the time when Lydon could bring anything to the table and it would be heard with delight. It was when he discovered structure he become less meaningful. Love Song and the collaboration with Afrika Bambaataa TimeZone aside the potency diminished with each Rise was a further descent.

This album needs to be heard in entirety, late night blasted in a car on earphones or out in the country. It is eerie, jagged, discordant and has an internal magnificence. Then it will at last create a dark picture of inner dreamworlds of claustrophobia when pounded into the ground.
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on 10 May 2003
This is a fantastic album - this is from when PIL were quite experimental and quite unlike their rock period of the mid-late 80's. When i was about 13 i was a huge fan of PIL's rock period ('Album', 'Happy' etc) and bought both 'Flowers Of Romance' and 'Metal Box' on the strength of what i had heard - lets just say that i was quite scared and freaked out by these 2 albums! However, over the next couple of years and after repeated listenings i came to love them. In particular, 'Flowers Of Romance' is something very special and owes a lot to the percussive efforts of Martin Atkins - as Metal Box owed a lot ot Jah Wobble's basslines. It feels quite abrasive, even by todays standards, but shows just how different PIL were at the time - which other reletively mainstream (supposedly) band was doing this back then? Well worth a listen and many repeated listening after that.
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on 1 February 2002
After schorching our minds with the fearful, terrific (I mean to use that word in two ways: both terror inducing and great) "Metal Box" album (aka "Second Edition"), Public Image Ltd underwent a period of change. Bassist Jah Wobble, whose bass work defined the mood of the first two albums, left and John Lydon and Keith Levene regrouped with drummer Martin Atkins and created "Flowers of Romance."
With Wobble gone the music took on a heavily drum reliant sound, Lydon continued to wail as he had done on the previous album whilst Levene's guitar work was hidden in the depths of the millitant beats. Whereas in "Metal Box" the dense sounds fused to create a nightmare soundscape, here the sound was distinctly minimalist, with Lydon's melancholic tinged lyrics providing a vein of angst for him to vocally exorcise.
The standout tracks on the album, for me at least, have to be "Four Enclosed Walls," "Flowers of Romance," "Under the House," "Banging the Door," and "Go Back." The other tracks are good, but those were the ones which lingered in my mind after listening to it.
The CD comes with three additional tracks, an instrumental version of "Flowers of Romance" and two b-sides dating from the time and mood of "Metal Box": "Home is Where the Heart is", complete with Dub-reggae style production, funky bass and vitrolic lyrics, whilst "Another" adds Lydon's haunting, wailing vocals to the "Metal Box" instrumental track "Graveyard".
All in all it is worth listening to, though some may argue that it is a let down after the brilliance of "Metal Box", simply because it sounds like nothing else PIL ever did.
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on 22 February 2014
Released in 1981 the experimental, percussion dominated 'Flowers of Romance' makes it's pedecessor 'Metal Box' sound almost like conventional rock. Highlights are the Jihad themed 'Four Enclosed Walls', the bleak take on sex that is 'Track 8' and the gloriously funereal 'Phenagen'.
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on 10 June 2015
The usual fantastic, amazing, weirdo and powerful music of the great PIL! I bought all the remasterized CDs and the sound is much better, clean and clear. And the New covers and internal parts in the case are just great! Amazing music with Johnny Lydon!
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on 11 June 2010
This is the most interesting album to listen to that i,me, and myself own i really can't get my head around it everything about this album seems mysterious and sort of well different. But don't let that put you off there are some days that no music you are in the mood for on your I Pod and then a PIL song from this album pops up on your shuffle and there you have it a interesting and a great song in one. John is at his creative peak her i mean who uses distorted violins well John does. If you a Sex Pistol fan wanting to know where john was at after the Punk movement get this album. I can't really some it up it is a massive well odd and usual music on a disc. And i can't really see Sid if he lived long enough to be up to the standards of this i really can't. This is worth every penny and really hands down is one of the best 80's albums ever. Even though the 80's wise was awful this magical album made people like you and me see the light thank god.

God save the PIL!
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 26 February 2006
PIL, or Public Image Ltd. as they had become by this point in 1981 had started off as an abrasive project - debut single 'Public Image' perfectly encapsulating this. In many ways, 'Flowers of Romance' is patchy like the debut LP - but still compulsory listening that surrounds the wonderful 'Metal Box/Second Edition'(it's also short like the debut!). Things had been getting dark for Lydon and co - as the later chapter on PIL in Simon Reynold's post-punk classic 'Rip It Up & Start Again' details, drugs were having an effect on the band. Added to this arguments over money and paranoia from Lydon's bunker in Gunter Grove and it's unsurprising that 'Flowers of Romance' is one of the most sinister records made. I wouldn't be surprised if it's used in rendition techniques by the US government, sometimes listening to it I've felt not far from a panic attack - like Scott Walker's 'Tilt', Nico's 'The Marble Index', John Cale's 'Music for a New Society', The Pop Group's 'We Are All Prostitutes' & The Fall's 'Perverted By Language' it has a claustrophobic atmosphere that offers a tunnel at the end of the light..
Jah Wobble exited just before this album, over conventional financial disputes, seeing through the veener of the PIL-corporation, a feeling that Keith Levene dominated 'Metal Box' & his dub-style reworkings of PIL-material 'The Legend Lives On...Jah Wobble in 'Betrayal' lead to his exit (ironically Levene's exit would partly hinge around a similar reworking of PIL tracks 'Commercial Zone'). Wobble's contribution is greatly missed - though it can be heard on the bonus tracks here: 'Another' (a vocal version of Metal Box's 'Graveyard'- suggesting a dearth of material) and b-side 'Home is Where the Heart Is' which is up there with anything on 'Metal Box' (it was picked by Jon Savage as one of his post-punk highlights in his postpunkfeature in Mojo a few years ago).
Martin Atkins who joined as drummer towards the end of 'Metal Box' contributes more here, his contribution to 'Metal Box's 'Bad Baby' perhaps the model here. Levene was allegedly in the depth of heroin addiction, there is a rumour that his refusal to play guitar here (only on a few tracks here - 'Go Back ' & 'Phenagen')was down to the state of his arms. Instead Levene favoured the mixing desk, obscure intruments & drums/percussion. Listening to 'Four Enclosed Walls' it's reasonable to suggest Levene created drum'n'bass (if you discount Swell Maps' 1979 instrumental 'Robot Factory')- clearly the DIY-punk ethos was creatively wild. Non-musician Lydon here contributes plenty too, the only other LP he did that on was the derided 'Psycho's Path' so it's interesting to see a better idea of his non-musical approach than that 1997 horror...
This album is an atmosphere piece, not sure when anyone would want to be in a mood to listen to this - 'Track 8' a vile ode to a female music journalist who seduced Lydon (the imagery moves from Beckett to something like tasteless self-loathing, the scrawlings of a serial killer...);'Hymie's Him' is an industrial clatter somewhere between Eno & Neubauten; 'Under the House' something sinister & song-like & 'Banging the Door' the second best song here that captures Lydon's paranoia and the feeling of a horror movie. 'Flowers of Romance' is the LP Kurt Cobain tried to make with 'In Utero' and failed as he was too much of a songwriter.
The best song here remains the title track whose name stems from Sid Vicious' fictional band - this saw a memorable TOTP performance where Lydon was dressed as a vicar with a violin, Levene bashed a drum in a white coat & Levene's girlfriend played cello (she is on the cover and had joined though really is the Linda McCartney of post punk!). One of the great TOTP performances alongside Bowie doing 'Starman', Associates' 'Partyfearstwo', Dexy's 'Jackie Wilson Said', Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' & The Orb's 'Blue Room.' The song itself is extremely short - a clatter of tribal drums (an idea nicked from Malcolm McClaren's Bow Wow Wow nicked from Adam & the Ants?), Lydon's sinister wail & disturbing lyrics, some synth manipulation & some cello/violin that shifts towards the kind of world music Jah Wobble explored on later solo albums (the instrumental version also included showcases this more). "Start all over again!" Lydon wails - and later he would, Levene exiting a year or so later and the Lydon-as-PIL outfit that would produce 'Live in Tokyo', 'Album' & 'Happy?' would proceed. The great songs would become fewer - 'World Destruction', 'Blue Water', 'Rise', 'Home', 'The Body', Lydon's Golden Palominos' collaboration...
'Flowers of Romance' is one that will elicit mixed feelings, at times it feels like rubbish - and contextually it comes after much more radical anti-music releases by Throbbing Gristle ('Heathen Earth'), Teenage Jesus & the Jerks ('Orphans'), The Pop Group, Wire ('Document+Eyewitness), 'No New York' & This Heat. I think it would depend on the mindset of the listener too - it's certainly nowhere near as vital as the two preceding PIL albums and in the scheme of things I'd say Wobble's solo work is more rewarding - the 'I Could Have Been a Contender' box-set far more deserving of your vitual pennies. Grim stuff with a few great tracks here - worth getting at this budget price...
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on 25 July 2010
last great album before the vertical decent to utter mediocrity, great art, one small quibble, 'Another' was released on the b side of 'memories' as in when wobble was in the band and i seem to remember before metal box, so i dont see why this should be included here (great track though).
Pil never made a half decent track after this, i can remember when the pathetic this is not a love song came out many people said to me hes back to making proper music, in reality it meant that metal box and flowers of romance was above their heads and only when he dumbed down to their level could they comprehend again.
So for those with taste in art buy metal box and flowers of romance, for those into haircuts and kareoke punk buy all the drivel afterwards.
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on 19 October 2014
many thanks for excellent service. very good price point
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on 1 September 2014
Another classic album very pleased!!
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