Mention the phrase “concept album” and the reactions may range from intrigue (Operation Mindcrime, right?), to raised eyebrows (Music From The Elder, anyone?). For Phil Taylor, however, big ideas are part and parcel of the music that he creates with his band, Future Leaders Of The World (FLOW) – as they’ve just demonstrated on their new album, Reveal (Pavement Entertainment).
“We wanted to create a theme that represented an ‘Us Versus Them’ type of vibe, the quintessential hero versus anti show on ‘the stage of life,’” explained Taylor in Rock Revolt magazine.
That sentiment explains the album title, which draws inspiration from a verse in Ephesians 5:11, according to Taylor: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
A major of theme of the album is the conflict between “people that are sincere at heart in this world, versus the ones who deceive others for their personal profit and gain,” he said.
For 45-plus minutes, Taylor (vocals) and Ian Severson (guitar), Jarred Mosley (bass) and Russell Bullock (drums) strive to expose those “men behind the curtain” who do so much to make the little guy’s life so miserable.
So far, reaction has been mostly positive. National Rock Review suggested that Reveal deftly updates the band’s grunge rock influences (“what the next evolution of the scene’s sound would have been”), while Rocked Reviews singled out the craftsmanship of songs like “Intoxicate” for special mention (“possible to make something memorable and catchy without the audio special effects”).
Remarkably,Reveal is just FLOW’s second full-length album that it’s released since Taylor formed the band in 2003, in Buffalo, NY. The band toured extensively with heavyweights like Seether, and Shinedown – only to go n hiatus in 2009, when Epic Records tore up its contract.
After a brief detour with a new band (Machina), Taylor announced FLOW’s return in 2014, after signing with the Chicago-based Pavement label. By then, Taylor had moved to New Orleans, which he credits as a critical factor in rejuvenating his own songwriting – because it’s not as “cut throat and overly competitive” as some music centers he’s seen, as he suggested in Rock Revolt.
“When I first moved there, I was overwhelmed with how positive and encouraging people were about our music,” said Taylor. “In NOLA, people do it for their passion and could really care a less about the mass appeal they just do them, which I can relate to.”
Not surprisingly, overcoming adversity is another major theme that runs through Taylor’s lyrics. That tradition goes back to “Let Me Out,” which reached #6 on the Mainstream Rock chart in 2004 – and remains the band’s best-known song.
According to Taylor, letters and prison testimonials still pour in to this day from fans who found the song meaningful. “It’s really humbling and an honor to do this for a living when you hear from people’s own mouths that the music you created helped them in such a profound way,” he said.
Taylor and company are gearing up for a major cycle of spring and winter touring -- which he hopes will establish the band once and for all. He also has other irons in the fire, including FLOW’s signature clothing line, and a seven-song acoustic EP that he hoped to release in December 2015.
As far as the future goes, Taylor promises plenty more big ideas to come – and a keen desire to capitalize, without taking the shortcuts to fame and fortune that short-circuit so many promising bands.
“We are excited to get out there and share this fresh batch of music with our loyal fans -- and make some new ones along our journey. We are going all out on this release and performance because very rarely do you get second chances, this is it!” he said.
Live: Tue, March 8th
With special guests ND 22, Anomic
103 S. Dixie Way
South Bend, IN
Further details TBA.
More Information: http://www.futureleadersoftheworld.net/,