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Flower Kings -Ė The Rainmaker

After Space Revolver, the bandís last album, The Rainmaker had to be on par with it. Does it? Yes it does. From the comical opening, then the power chords, powerful vocals, pounding Hammond organ, this has to be the bandís finest outing to date, not bad for the first track. Last Minute On Earth is that opening track, and it leads us on to the flavour of the rest of the album. Hasse Froberg`s vocals really blast through on this, and you can see where the band are heading, TO THE TOP!

There are many styles on the album, you have a great bass player in Jonas Reingold, and on this album he has produced some of the finest playing I have heard for a long time. Of course, it goes without saying, Roine Stolt is one of the finest writers and guitarist around today.

The next track, World Without A Heart, is a fine ballad with warming melodies both vocally and musically. Reminds me a little of We All Need Some Light Now from the first Transatlantic outing. Road To Sanctuary, track three is one of the high points on the album. It reminds me very much of Yes in places, with a little jazz feel to it too. Takes me back to the earlier Flower Kings material like World of Adventures with its medieval sounds and jingles. This fades into the title track The Rainmaker, which is an instrumental piece. It glides along with nice keyboard sounds, and a building ending leading into City Of Angels. This is a Church Of Your Heart type song, with a little jazz thrown in too. In true Flower Kings style, the vocal harmonies shine through again. The song changes and builds and fades, very Yes and Gentle Giant in places. There is a nice bass solo towards the end of the song too, and my favourite on the album too.

Another soft song Elaine follows, which is a gentle moving piece with a fretless bass covering the vocal harmonies, a nice summer feel to this I might add. Thru The Walls has a nice mellotron sound to it, and the Hammond hits you too. Now, Sword Of God is one of the heavier sounding pieces, you could file it along Deep Purple in the right mind, with the powerful riffs in tow with the keys. Hasse again shines on this one, great vocals. There is a moving guitar solo in the middle that makes this track come to a thunderous ending. Blessing Of A Smile, another instrumental sweeps around again with nice fretless and sax too, the keys and guitar blend in well too, then up pops Red Alert a nice Yes like up tempo sounding start, and up front synths and the shortest cut on the album. The final track, Serious Dreamers, is another Flower Kings epic, again very Yes like, and there is a Beatles feel thrown in for good measure too. This is a great track to end the album, the lyrics are moving too, just take `Playground pirates gaze at the sun`, brilliant! In true Flower Kings style, it has an ending like Sunny Lane from Flower Power, and the closing piano and harmonies hit you hard. Tomas Bodin shines through on this track, with his excellent playing, one of the greats in the keyboard field!

If you are lucky to get the 2 CD version, it is well worth it.   As well as containing six bonus tracks varying from prog classical to jazz fusion, the 2nd CD has two Quick time movies playable on PC or Mac.  The videos are well done, with a little live footage recorded on the last tour, Yes and Beatles songs feature a la Flower Kings!

To mark this out of ten, if you give it a nine you are mad. It deserves a ten in anyoneís review, because I feel The Flower Kings are on their way to greater things. All we need is a few more people to give them a listen and thatís it! Sadly, this is the last album to feature Jaime Salazar on drums and he will be sadly missed. New drummer Zoltan Csorsz from Hungary has taken the stool, and what we have seen so far, he is a very good choice. The next album I feel will be the one to get when it arrives. The tour in Europe begins soon, so go and see them; it will be a great tour.

It has been a pleasure to review this, hope a few million read it!

Danny Mayo

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