Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
The Flower Kings - simply awesome
on 11 April 2006
I have to be honest and say that I spotted the following review of this amazing album on amazon.com but it totally reflects how I feel about this wonderful band and their incredible new album.
Well, the Flower Kings have been my favorite band for about 7 years now, yet I've never felt that they produced a solid 5-star cd. They've successfully integrated 70's-style prog along with the occasional jazz fusion sequence, original and interesting compositions and arrangements, catchy refrains - and it's all done with some of the best musicians in all of rock. "Paradox Hotel" showcases their talents like no other cd before it....and it undoubtedly deserves 5 stars!
This is perhaps their most Yessy-sounding cd; and with harmonies and lyrics that frequently intone "heaven", "God" and even the word "roundabout", the Yes comparisons are hard to ignore. (See "Hit Me With a Hit", "Minor Giant Steps" and "Man of the World" in particular.) Not as much of the ELP or Crimson sound this time around. In fact, if anything there's a little more "pop" bent to this cd.
This is just a very even album for them, with more songs in the shorter range (that is, 5 or 6 minutes!), and they just flow together and transition effortlessly. The introspective and compassionate lyrics continue to augment the great melodies. Every song is unique and well-crafted. I echo everyone else: "How do they do it year after year?"
Perhaps what struck me most on this cd is how much they sound like a BAND - not just a bunch of virtuosos from Sweden pieced together to play Stolt's music. And virtuosos they are! Jonas Reingold is still my favorite bass player these days, alternating between thick Rickenbacker and gentle fretless bass. Tomas Bodin showcases the grand piano much more on this album, but there's also plenty of organ, mellotron, and other assorted synths and sound effects. He is GREAT on this cd, and (again) probably my favorite keyboard player since Tony Banks. And Roine Stolt is simply incomparable: inventive solos and riffs, clever modulations, and sweet sounding slides - check out his slide guitar on the 21-minute album opener "Monsters and Men". Sublime. Roine Stolt is a musical genius, and clearly in a class by himself.
New drummer Marcus Lilliequist is excellent as well; perhaps not quite as jazzy as Zoltan Czorsz, but he nimbly leads the group through the 4-3-4-2 time changes on "Unorthodox Dancing Lesson". And Hasse Froberg is in great voice on this cd, writes one excellent song himself, and fills in with lots of acoustic strumming.
The album begins and ends with some mission control sound clips from around 1970 - still not sure what that is all about. And you can still hear the mischievous Norwegian gnome laughing in various spots throughout the album (a TFK staple). The only thing I kind of miss is the sax playing that Ulf Wallander used to do on the earlier TFK cds. But other than that, this is pure prog heaven courtesy of the Flower Kings.
HIGHLY, Highly, highly recommended.
Paradox Hotel: check in....and check it out.