Band: The Flower Kings
Band Website: www.flowerkings.se
Label: InsideOut Records
Label Website: www.insideoutmusic.com
Release Date: 2012
Well, the wait is finally over. It’s been five long years since the last Flower Kings CD and we now have some wonderful new music from the symphonic prog masters. When Roine decided the band would take a break it certainly wasn’t to sit still as solo CDs and other projects seemed to keep all of them busy to one degree or another. But in the end it was time to make music again. Consisting of Roine Stolt (guitars, vocals), Hasse Froberg (guitars, vocals), Tomas Bodin (keyboards) Jonas Reingold (bass, vocals, acoustic guitar) and Felix Lehrmann (drums, percussion), the band have dusted off their tried and tested formula and come up with some classicFlower Kings music.
Banks of Eden delivers 53-minutes of music starting with the epic “Numbers” [25:26]. A series of grand major chord flourishes start everything off and in short order everything changes up for the first vocals, then it’s all change again and, well…you get the point. It’s an epic piece made up of dozens of different musical segments, some of them rocky, some of them jazzy, some of the just plain quirky. You know how Flower Kings do it; they’ll be playing something in a straight forward fashion only to have it all stop and feature some unusual synth or marimba-sound that helps transition to the next segment. While all this is going on, Bodin’s keyboards lay in layers of support and lead lines developing that Flower Kings symphonic approach. It’s a sound they’ve honed over the years but here they’ve added some new tricks to their parlor games. Some new melodic vocal patterns, some bluesier guitar lines, etc. It’s not unusual for a tune to start off grand and finish in even grander fashion with a series of punctuated crescendos before fading off into a spacey netherworld. The remaining tracks all in the six or seven minute range offer up similar music all-be-it on their own terms. Another words, it doesn’t all sound the same. As usual there are plenty of sparkling melodies sprinkled throughout as the Flower Kings have their own way of weaving these hummable melodies in and out of longer compositions. The musicianship as you might expect is flawless.
I can’t imagine what someone would find fault with on the Banks of Eden. It is everything a Flower Kings album should be. It’s a welcome return in my books. The version I have includes a bonus disc of four shorter tracks all around five minutes that is likely material they felt didn’t fit the main disc. These tunes are more straight forward and certainly show yet another side to the band. Banks of Eden is an easy recommendation to fans of symphonic prog.