The Flower Kings – “Islands”

It hasn’t even been a year since the last album by the Flower Kings. “Waiting for Miracles” came out November 8th, 2019. But with the world basically shut down due to the pandemic, Roine Stolt and company went right back into the studio to record “Islands.” The first thing you will notice about the new album is the artwork which was designed by the legendary Roger Dean. It’s about time he did a cover for TFK!

Unlike most Flower Kings albums, “Islands” doesn’t have any huge epics. And considering this is double album, it’s even more surprising. Still the album is 92 minutes long and has a ton of great music, it’s just done in a more…digestible manner. There’s a theme of isolation running through the album, though it’s not a “concept album.” Considering we are all dealing with more isolation with COVID-19, we are each our own little island. So the songs are linked, though not a true long song with many little parts like “Garden of Dreams” was on “Flower Power.”

Musically, it sounds like…well, The Flower Kings. The vintage prog sound is very much intact. There are a lot of strong melodies through out “Islands.” The songs range from mellower moments like “Morning News” to more overt prog like Yes-like opener “Racing With Blinders On.” Right off the bat, that song let me know this was going to be a fun album. “From The Ground” is a bit of prog pop as only Roine Stolt can write. Great tune. But there are a lot of great songs.

The first disc has some fine songs like “Black Swan” which has a swing to it that the band are great at, or the insane instrumental “Journeyman” which is just under two minutes and perfect. There’s also the 9 1/2 minute mini epic “Solaris” and the majestic “Heart Of The Valley,” which is another favorite of mine. “Man In A Two Peace Suit” showcases Stolt amazing guitar talent. And if the album was one disc, it still would be amazing.

But wait! There’s more!

“All I Need Is Love” kicks off the second disc and once again Hasse Fröberg adds his great voice to a great song. Plus another thing we all need is positivity and here’s a song with just that. “A New Species” is shows the jazzier side of the band that really first came into play back on “Unfold the Future.” You get more of that on “Hidden Angles” which is just under a minute but it is anything but filler! “Serpentine” keeps the coolness flowing (very much classic TFK). And that’s another thing I need to mention. The track order is really perfect. The songs flow so well together style wise.

It’s funny that the second disc has just as many amazing songs on it. The mellotron soaked “Telescope,” the bouncy “Between Hope & Fear” with a great use of strings and the title track which closes out the album, a song that would make Steve Hackett proud. A great guitar track to close out a GREAT album!

“Islands” is easily one of the best albums that The Flower Kings have ever done. Rather than worry about how long the songs are, it is all about how GOOD the songs are. For those who have never quite gotten into this band, this album could very well be the one you’ve been waiting for. For fans of The Flower Kings, this is another great album to get lost in. You’re own island.

Rating: 9/10

Tracklist:

CD 1 (49:40)
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 (43:01)
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

Label: Inside Out Music
Release Date: 30 October 2020

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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