Kornelius Flowers - Persona Non Grata

18 songs
64:35 minutes
***** ****
Sumo Rex


Three years after his debut solo album Vintage Hedonist, Kornelius Flowers is back with its successor Persona Non Grata which has once again been released on his own record label Sumo Rex. The album title hints at the fact that these days it is getting harder and harder for small artists to find venues to perform live.

From a musical point of view, the artist has still stayed true to himself and offers a varied mix of indie rock, singer/songwriter and a little Americana. Just like on the debut, we get a great opener, which in this case is also the title track, a cool rock song with a catchy chorus. The following Somebody Save Me is a quieter singer/songwriter piece that takes advantage of Flowers’ casual and pleasant voice. The first disc contains twelve tracks where rock songs and mellower material are nicely balanced. Even the bluesy Do You Wanna Kill Me happens to please due to its retro atmosphere. The straight Nowhere Else To Go that comes with female backing vocals has a charming Sixties flair and is one of the album’s big moments, followed by my favourite track Hi Hi Ho Ho which is as simple as it is catchy and therefore a downright earworm. The Americana influenced I See Her Ghost In The Dawn would work perfectly as the soundtrack for a David Lynch movie. More US feeling comes with the country trucker song Make It Big and When The Feeling’s Gone, a semi-ballad with stadium flair. Flowers’ love for American music probably comes from the fact that he has travelled many times to the USA, which must have left an influence. The only track I didn’t like so much is Dancing With Me, another semi-ballad that somehow doesn’t seem to work so well in the context of the album.

The first edition of the album comes with a bonus disc that contains six cover versions that Kornelius Flowers likes to perform live. The best-known track here should be the English language version of Kraftwerk’s The Model. The disc’s opener is Birth School Work Death from English alternative rock / new wave band The Godfathers which stylistically works perfectly on this album. More cover tunes come from Wanda Jackson, The Ultra Bimbos, Bobby Freeman and Elvis Presley which show that Kornelius Flowers is not wearing stylistic blinkers. Persona Non Grata is a mature album that is aimed at the demanding fan of sophisticated rock music. Grab it while it’s hot, because it is quite possible that a second edition will not come with the limited-edition bonus cover versions CD!

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