For those with preconceptions about Flamingods and their new album, ‘Hyperborea’, the record might conjure images of light-hearted, free flowing jams deep in mystical woods; an album born out of free love, limitless boundaries and open attitudes towards what makes music, music. In actual fact, a lot more thought has gone into this release than meets the eye. This isn’t merely a bunch of neo-pagan hippies sitting in a circle banging whatever percussion comes to hand. It has meaning, deliberation and most importantly talent.
‘Hyperborea’ bases itself around Greek mythology and the concept of a perfect, yet impossible to reach land of the same name. Issues of identity and belonging are clearly brought to the forefront as founder Kamal Rasool struggles to find his place in this world following his recent departure from the UK due to visa issues. Filled with delicate harmonies, soft ambiance and an array of percussive sounds that would make Neil Peart blush; Flamingods have composed a multi-textured, entertaining listening experience. While similar themes run throughout, ‘Hyperborea’’s range is spectacular; ‘Nibiru’ is futuristic and driven by firm, powerful thuds, ‘Mother Hen’ twinkles and twirls while the title track flows with ease from traditional wedding bells into wild tribal riffing. The abundance of psychedelic, ancestral interludes straight out of the days of old that break the album up however are often guilty of meandering and seemingly lacking direction. ‘Hyperborea’ is completely mad, refreshingly original - but the one thing that makes this album unique within its genre is probably what holds it back; it’s constructed solely via email.
For music as experimental as this, based around the concept of a free land whose inhabitants are constantly engaged in one big hippy jam, it’s almost counteractive to have these sounds delivered thousands of miles apart. The impression is very much one of a bunch of musicians all doing their own thing, expertly, but not together. The ideas behind ‘Hyperborea’ are interesting and the music is carefully constructed, but it’s just missing the soul and togetherness Flamingods so sorely need.