Uncut (magazine) (p.99) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n eerie ghost of an album with great moments..."
Public Image Ltd.: John Lydon, Keith Levene, Martin Atkins.
This import of FLOWERS OF ROMANCE contains 3 bonus tracks.
Public Image Ltd.: John Lydon (vocals, guitar); Keith Levene (guitar); Martin Atkins (drums).
The fourth Public Image Limited album is something of a milestone. Spread across its 33 minutes is some of the harshest and least "user-friendly" music ever recorded for a major record company. FLOWERS, the first album following the departure of the band's initial bass player, finds John Lydon largely abandoning guitars in the construction of his songs. The music is mainly comprised of jerking, off-kilter drumming, layered with creepy keyboard effects.
Echoing, buried backing vocals add menace to his uniformly disturbing lyrics. The tone of "Spread her body all naked and silly, a bulbous heap batting her eyelids" ("Track 8") and "What do you want, you're annoying go away, it's not my fault that you're lonely" ("Banging the Door") is not atypical. In "Under the House," a tale of a ghostly haunting in a dream-house, the almost lethargic vocals are undercut with frenzied drumming, distant growls, and creaking sounds. "Go Back," one of Lydon's classic anti-middle-class-complacency rants, features a tinny, squalling guitar--almost as an afterthought to the rigid drums. "Francis Massacre" ends the record abruptly with a mixture of seemingly unrelated drums, samples, and vocals. FLOWERS is a classic album of awkward and disturbing anti-"pop" music.