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Beardfish - Sleeping In Traffic - Part Two CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.18 | 706 ratings

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5 stars Having become a big fan of Beardfish in the last year I was really looking forward to this new album, the second part of the Sleeping in Traffic concept. For those of you new to Beardfish they're a pretty eclectic bunch. Influenced by many of the classic seventies, particularly Symphonic Prog bands along with some Zappa with much humour thrown in for good measure. To all this they add their own unique style and so despite the influences give Beardfish their own sound. For those of you more familiar, if you enjoyed any of their previous albums you'll almost certainly enjoy this too. Rikard Sjoblom (Vocals/Keyboards/Guitar) states in the liner notes that this album may take a bit longer getting into than previous albums. He's probably right as it's more complex and includes a 35 minute epic. Having said that I found myself enjoying it first play but with repeated listenings it just gets better and better revealing more of its charm.

Sleeping in Traffic: Part 2 starts as you might imagine, where Part 1 left off. Following someone's day, this is the night time segment opening fittingly with As the Sun Sets, a short Piano only instrumental. Into the Night is next and those seventies influences are immediately apparent, particularly from the strong use of (Hammond?) Organ and the organic production. Dynamics aplenty throughout this excellent track; each player having the musical technique to cope with the twists, turns and subtleties evident not just here, but throughout the album.

First listen I thought The Hunter was going to be an instrumental (we always get a few of these from Beardfish) but at just over 2 minutes the vocals come in for an excellent up tempo melodic piece including a great Keyboard solo. South of the Border as the lyrics state is the story of Gad-About- Garth, a bit of a womaniser it seems...or maybe not! With hilarious lyrics (Zappa influences definitely here) to compliment the excellent instrumentation capturing the band at their heavier end in places.

Cashflow is a typical idiosyncratic Beardfish instrumental and holds the listeners interest throughout its 6 minutes. After the upbeat Cashflow, in contrast we're taken to darker places with The Downward Spiral/Chimay, a more moody atmospheric track.

The overall strength of this album will naturally lie with the 35 plus minute title track; fortunately it's brilliant! There are many instrumental interludes throughout, starting with a strong 4 minute opening section before things come down for some melancholic vocals. The listeners interest is maintained throughout with all the Beardfish trademarks present including an amusing Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees) pastiche when our hero enters a seventies disco. It's a good time to mention David Zackrisson who along with Sjoblom plays some tasty Guitar, always playing to what the track needs rather than bombast and overplaying like many, no names mentioned, might do. The same can also be said of the rhythm section comprising of Bassist Robert Hansen and Drummer Magnus Ostgren who hold together the many twists and turns with ease.

And to close we go full circle to where Sleeping in Traffic: Part 1 started with Sunrise Again, a continuation of the keyboard only album opener As the Sun Sets.

I've sat on this album a few weeks before reviewing it and I'm not one to dish out 5 stars easily but this album is so good and the best so far from possibly the greatest Prog band of recent years it would be churlish not too. I can't recommend this album highly enough.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


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