Friday, 8 November 2013

Numbers (The Flower Kings, 2012)

This long suite opens "Banks of Eden", The Flower Kings' eleventh album, and it's a really good example of synphonic rock, with energetic guitar riffs, impervious keyboard progressions and airy, melodic sung themes. The sound is full and it features many changes of tempo, with the first 10 minutes equally divided between perfecty entwined electric walls of sound and choir and acoustic, intimate ballads. Then, I also appreciate the atmospheric section between minute 10 and 12, another good specimen of the spectacular, arcane but also ironic style of the band.

Silas Toball's wonderful cover art for "Banks of Eden".

This section is immediately followed by one of the best guitar solos in recent Roine Stolt's production. And when you think surprises are over, here you are sort a black music part, softly sung on a bass and hammond background. What else? A splendid keys / guitar duel (starting around minute 18) and a guitar-driven section in a crescendo of drums and choral arrangements. The finale begins with a taste of late '70s funky, then we're back in a melodic electric guitar solo. I don't always like The Flower Kings' epics, but this one is stunning and unpredictable, in a word: progressive.