Space Revolver

The Flower Kings

Inside Out Music America, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Progressive rock is by no means dead - though it is getting harder and harder to find. Sure, there are the specialty labels like Magna Carta who have done more for the scene in recent years than anyone, but it's still not always the easiest genre to find... or to get into.

Sweden's The Flower Kings are bucking that trend, becoming one of the best-kept secrets in the progressive rock world. Despite a level of success they've experienced in America, chances are the first time you'll have heard of them is now, as we talk about their latest disc (and sixth overall) Space Revolvermy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 .

If anyone should appreciate what lead guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt and crew are trying to accomplish, it should be me - the self-admitted, drooling Frank Zappa and Phish fan. After all, there are elements of impromptu jazz and free-form jamming scattered throughout the 10 songs on this disc. Yet I still found myself bewildered when, at about the nine-minute mark of "I Am The Sun (Part One)," I heard them break into a vocal rendition of "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" without missing a beat of the original rhythm of the song. Yikes.

The Flower Kings don't neatly fit the bill of a prog-rock band, despite their inclinations towards the stylings of Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer and even Phish ("Monster Within," "Chicken Farmer Song"). New bassist/vocalist Michael Stolt gets chances to shine throughout the disc, expecially on "Rumble Fish Twist" and "I Am The Sun (Part One)".

But what makes Space Revolver so intriguing is that as frustrating as it can be at times, it still is a disc which is captivating, no matter which musical genre you approach the disc from. I'd be hard-pressed to call it a disc you'd leave in the CD player for daily listening, but it does musically clean out the pipes, and helps to remind you how important prog-rock still is, even in the new millennium.

Maybe the key to Space Revolver is that you need to listen to this disc even more than I already have - after all, many prog-rock albums have shown me their inner beauty after spending significant amounts of time with them. Yet there is still something that you can gleam from this disc, even after a mere cursory listen - though all you'll probably walk away with is an appreciation of tracks like "You Don't Know What You've Got" or "A Kings Prayer". Still, that's better than nothing, I guess.

Space Revolver is the kind of disc that requests that the listener devote some time to it, but in the end, it proves to be a worthwhile investment. It's a little hard to approach initially, but it's enough to suggest to me that The Flower Kings have rightfully earned all the accolades they've received to date.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Inside Out Music America, and is used for informational purposes only.