Flower Kings – Paradox Hotel
A lot of The Flowerkings albums are double CDs and that’s also the case with this new one, which is called “Paradox Hotel”. How band leader Roine Stolt succeeds in being so productive is a mystery to me. “I guess it’s a combination of burning passion and a clear musical vision,” he explains his vast output. “Once I stick to a project, I’ll carry it through mercilessly. I’m usually working 14 to 18 hours a day,” he continues, and adds with a smile: “I’ll probably die young.”
Thematically, the new album deals with the curiosity of existence and the “Paradox Hotel” is a reference to people’s life on earth. Stolt explains the concept as follows: “We are only guests here. We can’t take much with us. We check in, we use the hotel bar, we pay the bill and then we leave again sometime. We live for a while, without having any real idea of our purpose. Good things as well as bad things apparently happen by coincidence, but they always happen when we least expect them. Nobody has ever seen God, the manager of this ‘establishment’, but most people suppose he is doing his job somewhere.” A well thought-out concept as point of departure for this double album in which Tomas Bodin (k) and Jonas Reingold (b) were more involved as songwriters than they were ever before.
Like I said earlier, the music of the band has become more accessible lately and “Paradox Hotel” can easily be called their most accessible effort to this date. According to Stolt, this can be explained by the way the album was recorded. With the exception of the vocal harmonies, most of the material was recorded live at Copenhagen’s Medley Studio during a week’s residence there. Afterwards, the band edited the songs at their own studio over a two month period. “This album is not as focussed on detail, it has raw edges and isn’t based so much on complex themes as is usually the case,” explains Stolt. “We painted with a thicker brush, so to speak. However, the melody side is still very strong and the whole thing sounds much more dynamic than we’ve been in the past.” All I can add, is that I like this way of recording an album and so, I can only hope they will follow that same course on the albums to come in the following years.
Conclusion: with “Paradox Hotel” The Flower Kings have finally released an album, to which I can listen from beginning to end (no less than 136 minutes) without feeling the need the interrupt things. Not only me, but many other new souls will be enlisted that way, without losing their devoted fanbase. First old school progrock highlight of this year!