Kwoon
When The Flowers Were Singing...


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
December 21st, 2009 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yes, I realize the band's name is horrendous. Bear with me, though, and you won't be sorry.

Post-rock is unique, I think, in the sense that it isn’t as bound by structures or walls, as other genres are. The arsenal of instruments that are used to create post-rock are exceedingly out-of-the-ordinary, and the vast range of feelings and aesthetics that post-rock can exude and deliver is simply unmatched, in my opinion. It’s so disheartening, then, to see this wasted potential go down the drain in most cases. Post-rock has developed from something so fresh and exciting into something relatively stale. The build-ups have become predictable and even trite. Oh, there’s the glockenspiel. And here’s the moment of silence. This dissatisfaction with the state of a genre (minus a few exceptions, of course) makes my enthusiasm for an exciting, new find even more fervent. And so I present to you, all the way from France, Kwoon.

I have to admit, When the Flowers Were Singing... isn’t particularly as innovative. New structures and exciting breakthroughs are certainly not the highlight of Kwoon’s latest. Instead, the breathtaking aspects of When the Flowers Were Singing... derive from Kwoon’s amazing ability to emanate sheer emotional exuberance from a formula that’s been worked and kneaded this way and that time and time again. The power on When the Flowers Were Singing... is rooted in the lush arrangement of harmonies and the impending apex of each song. Only a few listens through, though, and it becomes clear that things are different for Kwoon. We’ll get to exactly why later.

When the Flowers Were Singing... is a very slow-moving, deliberate album. Instead of lulling you to sleep though with sedative aspects, it elicits a different type of aesthetic, one that’s hypnotic and enthralling yet calming at the same time. “Back From the Deep” is a good illustration of this, with it’s deliberate noises and ensuing echoes. It fits in very nicely after “Schizophrenic,” one of the most dynamic on the record. This track does a spectacular job at using vocals in perfect line with the instruments that creates a very cohesive and emotional experience as the volume, anticipation, and emotion builds. The ensuing track, “Labyrinth Of Wrinch,” is a more calming experience. Female vocals enter to compliment the male vocals, all the while the instrumentation, however minimal, is front and center stage. The penultimate song, “Ayron Norya,” really manages to pull the entire composition well. After the ten-minute epic, When the Flowers Were Singing... feels more complete, more accomplished. It has everything from sweeping climaxes to more personal, sincere moments. Here you’re able to really grasp what it seems like Kwoon really does best- their attention to detail. Every song, every sound feels like a necesary piece of the puzzle; and most importantly, when put together it all works.

I’m not claiming that When the Flowers Were Singing... is the savior of what appears to be a genre on the downslope, but that would be asking far too much. Instead, Kwoon have created a superb blend of aspects common to the genre, added their own stylings, and manage to create a listening experience both surprising and enjoyable. A suitable comparison lies at the end of When the Flowers Were Singing..., when it ends on a bizarre note. “Untitled” is, most simply, the sounds of boots trudging through snow and the whisp of a harsh wind. How fitting. When the Flowers Were Singing... is a bit aimless and even bizarre at times, and it moves slowly and deliberately, but it manages to instill a sense of mystique and emotion in the listener, and I don’t know about you but I’m very satisfied.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


First post rock review, let me know if I missed any key aspects please.

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


... no seriously though, listen to this, come back and thank me then.

BallsToTheWall
December 21st 2009


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Horrible bandname/album title. Will end up acquiring since I haven't heard a great post rock album since the alst lights Out Asia. Good review.

SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


Thanks Balls... agreed. The actual album cover is very nice I think, I couldn't find it though.

PuddlesPuddles
December 21st 2009


4787 Comments


I really don't know how to judge one post-rock album from another. It seems like if it isn't
noticeably horrible, it's deemed amazing and epic

SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


That's the intro to my next review basically haha. Honestly, it's either boring and trite or exciting and astonishing, usually.

Skimaskcheck
December 21st 2009


2362 Comments


Sounds a bit like Ef, are they similar?
i'll totally get this though, especially as you've 4.5'd it.

SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


Never heard of Ef... but I will if it sounds like this.

Skimaskcheck
December 21st 2009


2362 Comments


they're cool, worthwhile post-rock, although as you can guess some may say they can be a little mundane etc etc.

nice review btw, but it seems to read more like a 3.5/4 though, just saying

SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


makes sense haha... I just changed it, this IS more of a 4 than a 4.5, I have a bad habit of inflating ratings when I review.

72Alexander27
December 21st 2009


49 Comments


Definitely will check this out, nice review.

And the name's not that bad. :P

SeaAnemone
December 21st 2009


20970 Comments


I don't mind "When the flowers..." but it really pained me to type out Kwoon, ugh burns my mind.

Zion
January 11th 2010


812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't mind either "Kwoon" or the album title. I guess I'm just bizarre. Album is very nice. Pretty sleepy even for post-rock standards (Frozen Bird is possibly the sleepiest song I have ever heard.) If this band didn't have a singer, this album would be significantly less noteworthy. I don't know of many other good post-rock bands with vocalists.

Zion
January 11th 2010


812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That said, Frozen Bird has a quite lovely climax near the end that actually makes up for the lack of momentum.

BallsToTheWall
March 14th 2010


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally getting around to this.

TheJackal
June 21st 2011


1005 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

more people need to check this out, great album



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