Release Date: 8th November 2019
Label: Inside Out Music
Formats: 2CD, DL, 2LP vinyl
Roine Stolt and his Flower King colleagues are back with a return to traditional values on Waiting For Miracles.
In the same way that people often confuse Jethro Tull with/as Ian Anderson, Roine Stolt is in a similar position in being seen as ‘the’ flower king. He may also be the heart of The Flower Kings, but then, Jonas Reingold and Hasse Froberg are an essential part of that band.
Whatever, Mr Stolt would appear to be in the zone. Aside from guesting in Steve Hackett’s band, he’s recently been touring with another Flower Kings incarnation, done an album with Jon Anderson, regrouped with Transatlantic and been a part of The Sea Within supergroup. Waiting For Miracles though, is arguably what he does best. Especially when as he says, the new music is “pure prog rock – boatloads of vintage keyboards, odd time drumming and long guitar solos!”
A return to good old school values and all the better for it IMHO, as they say, even to the extent of the interesting ‘balancing elephant’ artwork and almost an hour and a half of music across two CDs.
So it’s a brief overture leads us to Black Flag where the fanfares and instantly familiar Stolt melodic guitar lines shine through. It’s a tremendous opening gambit that builds a platform for Roine to let loose. Although it may not be groundbreaking, more of the same isn’t always a bad thing especially when it results inwhat The Flower Kings do best and offers a moment to appreciate where much of the direction of the legendary Transatlantic material gets its focus.
In the ten minutes of Miracles For America, lyrically a few risks are taken. Amongst the organ stabs and flying synth lines are several gems about saving miracles for America, intimating that our transatlantic cousins should be the ones in greater need. “Look at what you have, show some greater love” and “Look at what you have, More is not enough” sums things up succinctly.
Amidst the bold brush strokes there are extended instrumental passages and a quirkiness that emerges amidst the dramatic sweeps on Ascending To The Stars, a most cinematic piece. They also surface on The Rebel Circus albeit with some heavier elements; an interesting departure as you don’t always associate Roine Stolt with crunching power chords.
Whilst admitting that Waiting For Miracles sticks to an established Flower Kings opulence, seem breadth appears with some unusual electronics on Spirals and a touch of Neal Morse spirituality appears to have rubbed off on We Were Always Here. Then, amidst the classy Stolt guitar lines, appear cool and fluid jazzy overtones as the team add meat to the guitar bones.
The Flower Kings have been a rare treat of late, so their re-emergence will be seen as a welcome sight amongst the classic prog rock fraternity.
Listen to Wicked Old Symphony from the album here: