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No-Man - Flowermouth CD (album) cover

FLOWERMOUTH

No-Man

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.91 | 139 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Flowermouth is No-Man's 2nd full album and what a beauty it is. It is full of great, atmospheric sounds, sometimes ambient in a few short passages, sometimes featuring drum loops you can dance to, other times offering an atmospheric jazz/rock fusion and other times discordant sounds. Each track has it's own great characteristics and surprises, the one constant being Bowness' airy vocals which work in every scenario presented here.

This album is also loaded with guest artists that add to the quality of this music. It's a huge thing first of all that the usual two man crew of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson are helming the band and we are in capable enough hands right then and there, but you also get so much more here. In "Angel Gets Caught in the Beauty Trap", you get the muted jazz trumpet sounds of the great Ian Carr, in "Shell of a Fighter", you get full on space rock sounds of Wilson's Porcupine Tree co-hort, Richard Baribieri, and in the beautiful "Simple" you get looped vocals of Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance that add to the mystery of that song. On top of that you even get some killer guitar solos from Steven Wilson and plenty of evidence of his involvement throughout the album, even though the overall sound is far from Porcupine Tree, but it is still brilliant.

Okay, so if that isn't enough for you, let's throw in 2 King Crimson greats, Robert Fripp who plays guitar on 5 of the tracks and adds some Frippertronics on 6 tracks (including the 2 bonus tracks) with 'Born Simple' being all instrumental with all Frippertronics and Steve Wilson's electronics making for something that sounds more like Wilson's other project, Bass Communion. Also, Mel Collins from the earlier (and also most recent) incarnations of King Crimson plays sax and/or flute on 3 of the tracks (including a lovely flute solo on the amazing song "Animal Ghost"). What other excuse would you need to check this album out?

The other reason for the importance of this album is the excellent musicianship, production and songwriting prevalent throughout this album. Everything here is utilized and executed wonderfully. The overall sound is atmospheric like I said before but with so much more thrown in to keep it interesting. The entire album, even with all these great musicians participating, is very cohesive even in it's variety. There is plenty here for space rock fans, for electronic fans, for jazz fusion lovers and yes even some passages that would please avant garde fans. All of this is tied together by Tim's vocals and Steven's instrumentation. No-Man was a very talented band, but there were only a few of their albums that were able to reach the essential status. This is one of them. There is quite a varied amount of No-Man material out there, most of it hard to find in the U.S., but this album is definite must-have for Steven Wilson fans, you definitely hear a lot of his influence here. Also, KC or Robert Fripp fans should search out this album because he has so much influence and guest time on this album to be considered a band member.

Very psychedelic at times and very complex and jazzy at others, yet the album is very accessible. This it a great doorway into the music of so many artists, but also for Progressive Rock in general. It is an underrated masterpiece and should be explored by all lovers of the genre.

TCat | 5/5 |

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