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Nirvana (UK)

Black Flower

Review by Gary Hill

I've reviewed quite a few releases from this act. I'd say that this one is probably more dated sounding than the rest, but at the same time it's among the more mainstream. There is a lot of psychedelic pop here, but like the rest of their sets, there is some proto-prog in the mix. If you like 1960s music, particularly of the Beatles-influenced variety (the psychedelic period) give this a try. You will probably enjoy it. This new reissue includes the original album (The story behind the album is pretty interesting, too, but let's just say that the original release was delayed and not without problems when it was originally finished.) along with some bonus tracks. I think I actually like the bonus tracks better than some of the album versions, but it's all interesting.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The World Is Cold Without You
An intricate and delicate progressive rock approach opens this. The cut shifts out into something that's more of a folk prog meets psychedelic rock sound for the song proper. This has a soaring kind of accessible sound to it. It definitely feels dated, but it's also powerful. The symphonic elements reach toward the prog end of the thing, but at the same time the core of the song is rather Beatles-like.
Excerpt from "The Blind and the Beautiful"
Classical elements dance around the arrangement here, but overall it's another powerful psychedelic rocker. The horns bring some bombast. This feels a lot like something from Sgt. Pepper's.
I Talk to My Room
While this isn't a huge change, this piece feels more like a cross between the mellow pop music of the 60s blended with a proto-prog kind of sound. It's definitely dated in sound, but also quite cool.
Christopher Lucifer
Landing more in the vein of bouncy psychedelic pop, this still has some prog elements at play. I dig the guitar fills on this. This is a catchy number.
Aline Cherie
A mellower cut this starts with just piano and voice. Eventually the arrangement gets enhanced with other instruments and works into a really lush (although dated) sound. This feels a lot like the adult contemporary music of the time.
Tres, Tres Bien
World folk is the main basis on this number. It gets some Beatles-like elements in the mix, though.
It Happened Two Sundays Ago
A cool pop rocker that's a bit like The Monkees meets The Beatles, this is fun stuff.
Black Flower
The title track is a cool rocker with some proto-prog along with almost showtune styled elements and plenty of psychedlia. This is classy stuff with a powerful chorus hook section.
Love Suite
With female vocals (at times), there is a cool jazz vibe to this number. It has plenty of adult contemporary sound built into it, too. The mellower segment is nearly pure classical music, albeit of the light variety.
Illinois
There are a lot of symphonic elements at the core of this cut. The tune has a lot of folk music and psychedelia along with musical theater built into it.
Bonus Tracks

        

Taxi

I dig the bass line on this. For some reason, I'm reminded of Donovan a bit here. This is a pop meets psychedelic rocker in terms of overall effect.

June

More of a folk based piece, this has a lot of world music built into the arrangement. Yet there are both classical and psychedelic things here, too.

We Can Make It Through
This is another bouncy little piece that works really well.
Illinois (Take 2)
I think that this version of the song is more proggy. I really love the arrangement on this. In fact, I prefer this to the version that made the album proper.
Love Suite (Take 2 - Instrumental)
This seems to rock a bit more than the version with the vocals. I think I like this version of the cut better than the one that made it onto the main album, too.
 
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