Exclusive stream: The Flower Kings, “White Tuxedos” from Desolation Rose (2013)

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The disembodied voice of Richard Nixon — eerie, foreboding, completely full of it — heralds the arrival of this stark indictment of pols who tell you they want peace even while escalating conflict, providing a high point on the Flower Kings’ forthcoming Desolation Rose.

The project, due October 29, 2013 from InsideOut Music, represents a collaborative triumph, as sessions for this 12th studio album found Roine Stolt, Hasse Fröberg, Jonas Reingold, Thomas Bodin and Felix Lehrmann recording live to tape — and with vintage instruments to boot.

A lengthy tour in support of 2012’s Banks of Eden, the group’s first album in five years, only added to the sense of tight-knit camaraderie inside Sweden’s Fenix Studio. A 10-track cycle was assembled on the spot, and arranged together by the group — resulting in one of the Flower Kings’ most narratively complex yet most cohesive efforts so far.

A little heavier than in past efforts, in particular early on in the Flower Kings’ nearly 20-year career, “White Tuxedos” (and, really, almost all of Desolation Rose) tackles modernity’s big issues with an unflinching eye — a refreshing development, considering the retro tag prog is often saddled with.

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