Oh no a new album from the progressive kings of Sweden, my oh my and a double CD once again!
I have been following this band closely since they started out twelve years ago; I even witnessed their first live performance in their hometown of Uppsala back in the days! I was more than impressed when main man Roine Stolt released the album ?The Flower King?, the album that started the whole thing was soon followed by ?Back In The World Of Adventures? in 1995. Third album ?Retropolis? the year after was just as impressive, those three first albums sure has a special place in my heart as they meant a whole deal to me back then.
In 1997 the band released ?Stardust We Are?, their first double CD set and it was around this time that The Flower Kings started to get a well deserved bigger audience and the word of mouth effect was impressive as it snowballed around the globe. The follow-up album was called ?Flower Power?, yet another double CD set released in 1999! It was with this album I started to get bored, it felt like they had run out of fresh ideas and started to copy themselves and in my book they didn?t ad anything to their up to then impressive catalogue. What they did on the ?Flower Power? album had already been done so much better on their previous releases and the actual relevance of the album was on a personal view really low!
I continued to go see the band live and up until today they are the band I have seen the most, twelve times to be exact and they still are a great live band. Next album was a single CD, well if you like I bought the Japanese edition it was a double! Yes I still bought their albums, on routine I should say, because I didn?t like that album one single bit either and their problem to reinvent themselves and attract my ears continued with ?The Rainmaker? in 2001. It was the same with the double album ?Unfold The Future? the year after, really a terrible album if I may say so. But with the release of ?Adam & Eve? two years ago they actually managed to squeeze out a couple of great songs in ?Love Supreme?, ?A Vampires View?, ?Adam & Eve? and ?Drivers Seat? and at a beginning I thought that they were back on track, but I actually soon got tired of that album as well as it didn?t grow on me and soon the attraction was all gone!
It was around here I decided that the once so mighty Flower Kings had been given their last chance in my home, so I decided to stop buying their releases and that the seventeen various releases I had in my collection was enough! End of story? No not really, about four weeks ago somebody was kind enough to send me a copy of their new album ?Paradox Hotel?, my first reaction was no no what is this, I don?t want it! A couple of days later I had a look at it and it certainly looked different as the cover art wasn?t at all in that typical Flower King way, it actually looked quite cool. So I decided to give it a spin, so I could dispatch it and at least say that I have heard it so I could explain myself if I was to be confronted by one of their many die hard fans. But to my surprise I was immediately impressed and the album actually grew on me from the very first listen and it just gets better and better every time I play it, and I have already lost count on how many times I have played it ? a true sign of a good album!
Sound wise I feel that they are back where they started in the mid nineties, once again focusing on melody and harmony, it feels great that The Flower Kings once again is a band that makes me all happy inside and brings smiles to my face. And for that I say thank you?