First, I am sure you noticed, this dog usually gets his
capital letters in the right places. However, those young pups from flow do not
like to use capital letters in their name and CD titles, and who am I to argue?
After all, the Beatles couldn’t spell. flow’s second album in their trilogy
(seeds, roots, and flowers), roots comes two years after the first album and
confirms flow as one of Thailand’s leading rock bands, although only Mit
Witchitwatee was born in Thailand; the rest of the band has made Thailand their
all departments of their trade flow has come on in leaps and bounds. Out the
front, when flow takes to the live stage, is Rick Montembeault. As well as being
the sole songwriter in the band, he also possesses one of the most unique and
emotive voices in Rock ‘n’ Roll. Rick’s collection of songs flow
beautifully throughout the album. Opening with the introductory ‘flow river
flow’, which builds from a quiet beginning allowing each member of the band to
slowly integrate themselves into the song. Straight away it is thrust into your
ears. The regular gigs all over Thailand have made the band tighter and their
confidence is infectious.
rhythm section of Peter Fleischhaker together with Mit Witchitwatee fair punch
each song, Peter playing his bass guitar in the more modern style, like a lead
instrument, rather than traditionally as a rhythm instrument to underpin the
song (especially on the rocky ‘easier to be gone’). Mit Witchitwatee’s
drumming is also pushed right to the front of the mix. If his funky drumming was
a feature of seeds, then he excels himself on roots, cementing his place as
Thailand’s drummer’s drummer.
lead guitar and star of the live set is the man with more nicknames than he can
remember, Roland Fleischhacker, a.k.a. ‘The Character’, or to most of his
friends ‘Breez’. Breez’s (see, Mott the Dog’s a friend) guitar playing
throughout is exemplary and is the only lead guitarist that flow could ever have
as he manages to play in all the different styles that Rick Montembeault’s
songs demand. You are never going to get bored listening to a flow album. Even
through this one Breez’s playing leaves you in no doubt that you are listening
to a collection of flow songs. One of my small gripes about this set is that
Breez is only once allowed to blow up into a hurricane with his axe playing
(during ‘hey old man’). For two and a half minutes Breez rips through his
strings bringing the song to a roaring climax. I hope on the final piece of the
trilogy Breez is given a little more rope to let it all hang out. It certainly
would add so much more excitement to proceedings.
Unfortunately third song in ‘non-song’ is exactly as the
title suggests, and perhaps could have been left on the cutting room floor. It
sounds a bit like an outtake from seventies spoof band Alberto Y Los Trios
Paranois, thereby incurring the loss of half a star. But this is more than made
up for by what follows in ‘the money song’, ‘then there’s me’ and the
amazing ‘wooden indian’. They are the central songs of the set and are by
far the best songs ever to come from the pen of Rick Montembeault. If you had to
pick one song it would have to be ‘wooden indian’ with its Led Zeppelin
influences flying high. Hey, everybody has influences; best to get them from the
top. ‘wooden indian’ is a tribute to native North Americans. It is hard to
think of a better crafted song in the world of rock music and is worth the price
of the CD on its own.
To add to the splendor, the talents of ‘Life After Nine’
(whose debut album ‘Stomp’ is a must for any lover of good time music)
violinist Steve Cipolline have been used on the song, giving flow’s sound a
whole new dimension. Showing complete unity with Thailand’s musicians, the
multi-talented keyboard player Keith Nolan of ‘Cannonball’ has also
gainfully been employed. Now there is an idea, next time flow graces Pattaya or
Chang Mai with a concert, perhaps they could bring these two with them. Now that
would be something to behold.
‘the money song’ is not only a very fine rocker, it’s
also very funny to boot. The glee in Rick Montembeault’s vocals as he sings
“Money makes the world go round, But why?
It can’t buy happiness, But it’s fun to try,
And you can’t take it with you when you die,
In the end only cockroaches, Keith Richards, and money will
Money is evil, And I should know because I’m poor,
Money is evil, But I’ll need more to be sure.”
Great stuff, Doubloons indeed. Music to tap your foot to and
put a smile on your face. Final song ‘the wheel keeps turning’ brings the
whole set to a rousing conclusion.
The album comes in a gatefold digi-pack with a separate
booklet with lots of photos, all the lyrics and as much information as you are
likely to need on the band, all designed by long time flow stalwart Richard
Wilson. All in all a very nice package. I look forward to the final chapter of
the trilogy - flowers. As flow say, roots - dig in and dig it.