KORNELIUS FLOWERS - Vintage Hedonist

Kornelius Flowers - Vintage Hedonist

12 songs
43:13 minutes
***** ***
Sumo Rex


Since 1991 Kornelius Flowers from Trier has been known as founding member, vocalist and guitarist of The Shanes who play folk rock with elements of Balkan music. After twenty-five years, the band is on hiatus, allowing Kornelius Flowers to release his first solo album on his own record label Sumo Rex. Even though he is the mastermind behind all of this, a lot of musicians were involved in the making of Vintage Hedonist. Among others you’ll find Cherrypops guitarist Veronika, Luxembourg based musicians Matt Dawson and Fred Barretto, as well as Michael Stein from Das Scheit.

The Shanes always felt a little too folk for my taste, which is why it is nice to hear that Korneslius Flowers is showing himself from his more rocking side on Vintage Hedonist, performing twelve songs that would have been too harsh for his folk band. The only exception is The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill, a cover version by Hüsker Dü which he played already in a softer version with The Shanes. Two further cover versions are Abba, a garage rock hit from the Paragons, predating the Swedish pop band by a decade, and Hall Of Fame by The Perc Meets The Hidden Gentleman, a solemn piece that works well as the conclusion of the album. The remaining nine songs are Flowers’ own compositions that are performed by five to six musicians each. There is a hard core of musicians that can be heard on every song, while the other ones can be considered guest musicians.

One thing’s for sure: Kornelius Flowes isn’t afraid to rock, more so than he ever did with The Shanes. He doesn’t want to be pegged into a single genre, so deliberately call his style pop rock, which doesn’t mean that he is sounding commercial. He is partially influenced by American rock icons Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, but is also no stranger to the Kinks from England. Indie rock from the Nineties is another influence one can make out. The heavy use of vintage organs makes for a welcome retro sound and also reminded me of Able Tasmans from New Zealand. The songs are generally short, only the first single Fire In The Air makes it to five minutes (although there exists also a shortened version for radio airplay). Kornelius’ voice is raw and melancholic, reminding me of Martti Mäkkelä. Some tracks on Vintage Hedonist would have worked well within the concept of the latter’s band Miracle Gyrlz, like for instance the rocking When I Will Be Your Man and Evil Head. Only the slow I Don’t Believe In Anything might have been a part of The Shanes’ repertoire.

Vintage Hedonist has become a great rock album which is uniting elements from the Sixties to the Nineties. Kornelius Flowers is slowly but surely getting close to fifty years old, and presents in his fascinating kind the music that has influenced and shaped him. The final result is definitely listenable. If you like timeless rock music, you should check out the two-meter-tall guy’s debut solo album.

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