The Flowers of Romance (album)
|The Flowers of Romance|
|Studio album by Public Image Ltd|
|Released||10 April 1981|
|Recorded||October–November 1980 at: The Manor Studio, Shipton-on-Cherwell; Townhouse Studios, London|
|Genre||Post-punk, experimental rock|
|Public Image Ltd chronology|
The title of the album makes reference to The Flowers of Romance, an early punk band of which Keith Levene (as well as Sid Vicious) was a member. "The Flowers of Romance" was also the title of an early Sex Pistols song.
The album is largely centred on percussion, and Levene has described it as "probably [...] the least commercial record ever delivered to a [record] company." Similarly, the Trouser Press Record Guide states that "the music is so severe as to lend credence to a record executive's statement that The Flowers of Romance is one of the most uncommercial records ever made – at least within a 'pop' context."
Occasional drummer Martin Atkins played on three songs, while band members Levene and John Lydon handled percussion duties on the other tracks. One, "Under the House", actually has both Levene and Atkins playing dual drumlines. The prominent, and heavily processed, drum sound was influenced by Peter Gabriel's third album, on which engineer Hugh Padgham had processed Phil Collins' drums. Collins, in turn, was so impressed with the sound on The Flowers of Romance that he hired the album's engineer, Nick Launay, to reproduce the sound for his own projects.
Throughout the album, musique concrète sounds, such as amplified wristwatches, reversed piano and televised opera, weave in and out of the mix. Vocalist John Lydon contributed Stroh violin and saxophone (though he was not known to be trained on any particular instrument) and, according to a Rolling Stone article about the album, simply banged on anything handy for percussion, including the face of a banjo on "Phenagen".
Keith Levene's innovative guitar style was stretched even further through the use of reversed tapes and trebly distortion, and his synthesisers drone and burble throughout the album. Several songs (for example "Four Enclosed Walls" and "Phenagen") have a Middle Eastern feel.
Bass guitar player Jah Wobble had left the group before The Flowers of Romance was recorded, so Keith Levene played bass on "Track 8" and "Banging the Door", the only two tracks to feature the instrument.
Recording began at The Manor Studio in Shipton-on-Cherwell, with two weeks booked around early October 1980. Only one album track was recorded towards the end of these sessions ("Hymie's Him"). The band also recorded joke versions of "Twist and Shout" and "Johnny Remember Me", which remain unreleased. Drummer Martin Atkins, who visited the band towards the end of these sessions, possibly recorded the drums to "Home Is Where the Heart Is" during his visit, which became the B-side of PiL's "Flowers of Romance" single the following year. "Home Is Where the Heart Is" was then mixed at Townhouse Studios; during this mixing session producer Steve Lillywhite was dropped and replaced by Nick Launay, who was enlisted to co-produce the album.
The rest of the album was recorded at Townhouse Studios in London with two weeks booked around late October/early November 1980. Drummer Martin Atkins was hired for the sessions and also contributed to the songwriting, and left on 31 October 1980 to play a gig in New York City with his band Brian Brain the following day. Unreleased songs which didn't make it on the album were "Vampire" and "Woodnymphs".
A final studio session was added a few weeks later around early December 1980 at Townhouse Studios to remix the proposed single "Flowers of Romance" and record a few overdubs.
The 12-inch version of the single included an instrumental version of the lead track and "Home Is Where the Heart Is", originally played on the Metal Box tour, with Atkins on drums, and Levene again contributing bass, with help from tape loops.
|1.||"Four Enclosed Walls"||4:44|
|4.||"Flowers of Romance"||2:51|
|5.||"Under the House"||4:33|
|2.||"Banging the Door"||4:49|
|CD bonus tracks|
|10.||"Flowers of Romance (Instrumental)" (originally from the "Flowers of Romance" 12" single)||2:51|
|11.||"Home Is Where the Heart Is" (originally from the "Flowers of Romance" 12" single)||7:34|
|12.||"Another" (originally from the "Memories" single)||3:51|
- Public Image Ltd
- John Lydon – vocals, Stroh violin, saxophone, percussion
- Keith Levene – guitar, bass guitar, synthesiser, cello, piano, drums ("Under the House", "Go Back"), percussion
- Martin Atkins – drums ("Four Enclosed Walls", "Under the House", "Banging the Door", "Flowers of Romance"), synthesiser ("Banging the Door")
"Flowers of Romance"
- UK: No. 24
- Kellman, Andy. "The Flowers of Romance – Public Image Ltd. : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- Robert Christgau. "Robert Christgau: CG: Public Image Ltd". Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- Piero Scaruffi (1999). "The History of Rock Music. Public Image Ltd: biography, discography, reviews, links". Retrieved September 9, 2013.
- "Keith Levene". furious.com. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Isler, Scott; Robbins, Ira A. (1985). Robbins, Ira A., ed. The Trouser Press Record Guide (4th ed.). New York: Collier Books. p. 524. ISBN 0-02-036361-3. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Halasa, Malu (3 May 1981). "PiL: Flowers of Romance". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved 26 May 2013. Note: The article's writer erroneously identifies the album's title track as having Lydon's banjo-as-drum part, although a careful listening of the tracks mentioned in the article reveals "Phenagen" to be the song.
- Heylin, Clinton (1989). Public Image Limited: Rise/Fall. London: Omnibus Press. p. 90. ISBN 0-7119-1684-5.
- "Public Image Ltd. | Artist | Official Charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "charts.org.nz – Public Image Ltd. – Flowers of Romance". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 26 May 2013.