Flowers Must Die - Där Blommor Dör - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Flowers Must Die - Där Blommor Dör

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2018-04-30
Flowers Must Die - Där Blommor Dör
Flowers Must Die - Där Blommor Dör

All right, set the controls for the heart of the Swedish psychedelic sun. This one is psych-prog-folk sonic bliss from start to finish.

Oh, the first tune, “Gör Det Inte” is a bit of a brunt force, nine minutes plus of fairly free-form psych-jazz. They say the takeoff is the toughest part of any space shot. And this one’s a tough launch. But after several plays, the tune reveals its deep-fired melodies. This one rambles and rumbles with wah-wah guitars, Lars Hofften’s pounding percussion, some sort of lovely insanity, deviant rock ‘n’ roll, a violin, weird keyboards, and a melodic foot on the gas pedal.

Then things slow a bit with “Gömma.” This is violin led (almost) folk psych that lays its heavy load with some sort of Swedish ancestral wisdom. Lisa Ekelund’s vocals haunt the dark back history of the tune.

My friend, Kilda Defnut, says this song “is a heavy prayer to a dissonant God.”

I don’t know about that, but this music is ripe with ritual. Fellow Swedes, Goat, are about ritual, too; but their music is overt and exuberant, while this music searches inward, and it sizzles with contemplation. Yes, indeed, both bands are great.

“Oroa Dig Inte” is bliss captured alive. This tune stretches out; it swirls, it pulsates; it’s a dancing secret that sheds fluted veils. Once again, Lisa Ekelund’s vocals haunt the warm undercurrents of the song.

And then there is “Oro,” which further explores the Eastern-tinged landscape. It floats. Well, it lingers on the waves of the quiet wah-wah sound of guitarists Jonas Hogland and Sven Walan.

This is very beautiful music.

Now, I’m not very interested in 5.1 Digital Surround technology, but if Steven Wilson were given the chance to work his magic, well, what with the layers of deep musical textures, he would have a field day with this record. Not only that, but I’d probably be compelled to spring for a few more speakers.

And there’s not a hint of the funk/disco sound of their last record, Kompost, which was detailed in Rob Taylor’s great review for our very own Soundblab.

“Träd, Gräs & Hö” shimmers with sunlight. It must be some sort of homage to the band Trad, Gras Och Stenar, who played a similar freeform psych rock in the 70’s. Now, really, it is time for my totally non-solicited partisan plug for all the great bands that flowed from the wellspring of Sweden, many of whom were on the wonderful Silence label. Kebnekaise were true world music before Peter Gabriel and Starbucks went global. Their take on Swedish traditional music is entwined with progressive rock, psych, and African rhythms. Arbete Och Fritid blended jazz, raga, and folk music. Archimedes Badkar was as great as the German band Embryo. There are so many others: International Harvester, Samla Mammas Manna (later Zamla), Ragnarok, Kaipa, Flasket Brinner, (the great) Bo Hansson, and Algarnas Tradgard, whose first album with the catchy title, Framtiden ar ett svavande skepp, forankrat i forntiden, is a psych-folk-prog-hippy masterpiece.

Flowers Must Die continue this tradition. The title track, “Där Blommor Dör” (which was first introduced as a 1:16 interlude on Kompost), now wanders through eighteen minutes of aural beauty. This song is intensely quiet, featuring the keyboard work of Rickard Daun, and is, indeed, in a parallel universe away from the opening energy of “Gör Det Inte.” Martin Daun’s bass guitar never wavers, and the guitars never cease to soar. This is patient music; this is music that threatens to disappear; it’s music that threatens to explode. Listen to the piano. This is music that wears its ephemeral beauty in a world of pop songs, auto-tuned singers, short attention spans, and everybody’s got talent. This tune simply smokes all of that stuff.

“Dööm” is actually eerie, with a ghost-like trumpet, curtesy of friend Unni Zimmerdahl. And yeah, Lisa Ekelund’s vocals hover over this song.  In all fairness, this music doesn’t sound like King Crimson, but anyone who loved Lark’s Tongues in Aspic, especially, the slow paced “Easy Money” will enjoy this song. It’s one of the more composed tunes on the record.

It ends with “Ejefjallajökull” which is weird, wild, and very folky with a violin meshed against cosmic keyboard sounds. There’s a wonderful guitar bit, but then Swedish rock ‘n’ roll, in all its proud Kebnekaise, Bo Hansson, and Algarnas Tradgard glory, simply breaks loose. This is a really nice ending to the album.   

Oh, there’s bonus track that’s an electronic thirteen-minute prog melodic mish-mash. It sounds like Genesis improvising with “The Waiting Room” from The Lamb. That’s not a bad thing at all, although it definitely qualifies as a bona fide bonus track because it doesn’t fit with the rest of the record.

You know, I saw Jethro Tull at the Sheboygan Lake Fest in 2002. Apparently, the crowd just wanted to hear “Aqualung,” while drinking, talking, and buying psychedelic tie-dyed tee shirts adorned with Ian’s one-legged flute playing silhouette. A rock concert had become just a reason to party, and that was a shame. But trust me, it wasn’t always like that. I saw Tull years before during their Minstrel in the Gallery tour. The often-intricate (and sometimes down right heavy) music entertained our collective and receptive silence.

Flowers Must Die, once again, demand that attention. And, just like the weird Genesis prog of the bonus track, it’s not a bad thing at all. This music conjures those Big-Bang rock ‘n’ roll days of youthful ritual, when music was deep, complex, and filled with the passion of an ever-expanding universe that will always repay our patience with sonic pleasure.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars
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