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The Flower Kings: Islands

Coming basically one year after 2019's Waiting for Miracles, and right in the middle of COVID-19 lockdown, Sweden's prog-veterans The Flower Kings remotely have put together another double album for InsideOut Music, titled Islands. As revealed on my recent interview with band leader Roine Stolt on our YouTube channel, Islands deals with the idea of isolation, something that all of us can relate to here in 2020, and the cover art from the legendary Roger Dean perfectly captures that feeling as well. Comprised of twenty one tracks, Islands forgoes the epic length tracks that permeate many Flower Kings albums, but as Roine explained, many previous 'epics' are really just shorter tracks pieced together into one long piece. Many similar musical themes and ideas pop up around this album, the flavors ranging from bombastic, symphonic progressive rock to more pastoral, engaging pop inflected numbers, such as the lovely 'From the Ground". It's something The Flower Kings have always done so well, layering alluring vocal melodies in with their challenging musical tapestries. Stolt's expert guitar work is a joy here as always, and he's found a great musical partner in Zach Kamins, now on his second album playing keyboards with the band. Once again, Stolt shares lead vocal duties with the always impressive Hasse Fröberg, and the ever astounding Jonas Reingold's fusion inspired bass grooves are locked in tight alongside drummer Mirko DeMaio, who, along with Kamins is fairly new to the band but who sounds as if he's been here for decades.

Too many highlights to mention, and the truth is, Islands is really an album to take in as a whole, but "Broken", "Solaris", "Racing With Blinders On", "A New Species", and "Telescope" are just a few of the standout tracks. Soaring melodies, a wealth of keyboard & guitar solos, intricate arrangements, lots of proggy bombast, and all the other usual things we expect from The Flower Kings are all here, 90+ minutes of quality Swedish progressive rock. Dig in deep and enjoy!

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Racing With Blinders On (4:24),
2. From The Ground (4:02),
3. Black Swan (5:53),
4. Morning News (4:01)
5. Broken (6:38)
6. Goodbye Outrage (2:19),
7. Journeyman (1:43),
8. Tangerine (3:51),
9. Solaris (9:10),
10. Heart Of The Valley (4:18),
11. Man In A Two Peace Suit (3:21)

CD 2
1. All I Need Is Love (5:48),
2. A New Species (5:45),
3. Northern Lights (5:43),
4. Hidden Angles (0:50),
5. Serpentine (3:52),
6. Looking For Answers (4:30),
7. Telescope (4:41),
8. Fool’s Gold (3:11),
9. Between Hope & Fear (4:29),
10. Islands (4:12)

Added: November 23rd 2020
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1388
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

The Flower Kings: Islands
Posted by Molly Whipple on 2021-06-30 00:53:30
My Score:

Definitely a step up from the previous effort. At times this album soars in the manner one would expect from a band called The Flower Kings. More like this please.

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