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The Flower Kings - Stardust We Are CD (album) cover


The Flower Kings


Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 549 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Some time ago, I saw a post on the forum by Epignosis asking us to compare the relative merits of two equally rated Flower Kings albums, Adam & Eve and Stardust We Are. I had had the former for some time, but this was my only TFK album, so I asked was it worth getting the other? The answer was a resounding YES, so I went ahead.

This, in turn, led me to buy the complete TFK back catalogue, so it's fair to say I was impressed.

This is a long and sometimes difficult album to sit through in one go, and I tend to agree with a lot of previous reviewers that maybe it might have been better to have had just one CD of exceptional quality songs, rather than padding out the work into two CDs. Having said that, there is plenty to enjoy here, and I ardently feel that newcomers to this band would be better listening to this album before venturing into other works.

The whole album has an unashamedly retro feel to it, most markedly in the ELP inspired opener, In The Eyes of The World, to the glorious Yes symphonic inspired Church of your Heart, which, to me, is the outstanding highlight of the album, a glorious track which soars, uplifts, and is absolutely and rightly unapologetic about its roots. Other nods to glories past include Circus Brimstone, a marathon 12 minutes homage to King Crimson from the classic Wetton, Fripp, and Bruford era. It's not as dark as that band though, there being some beautifully uplifting passages, thus avoiding falling into the trap that KC sometimes fell into, that of being overly complex and brooding at the same time (I state this as a massive fan of the band).

Even that track, though, is a mere stroll in the park as compared to the title track, the last on CD2, which weighs in at a massive 25 minutes. Having said that, it never feels overlong, and the band are genuinely awe inspiring when they reach the central theme of the song. This is a towering paeon to symphonic prog rock in all of its glory, and exemplifies to me just why TFK are regarded as being at the forefront of the 3rd wave of prog in the aftermath of the UK dominated neo (2nd wave) era of the early 80's.

At turns derivative, at others wholly original, never anything less than demanding, when it hits the high points, it makes for an extremely satisfying and rewarding listening experience.

It is difficult to rate this album, and I think, by and large, the average of 4 stars given to it by previous PA reviewers is about right. Excellent in its own right, but, in my opinion, essential as a way of getting into this most incredible set of musicians.

lazland | 4/5 |


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