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

SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC: PART TWO

Beardfish

 

Eclectic Prog

4.20 | 523 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is the second part of Beardfish's two album concept, and this is the stronger, more creative, more unique album.

The clear influences from 70s prog are not nearly so present on this album, save for the much stronger presence of Frank Zappa (and not just in the songwriting, either). The focus is much less on the vocals than the first part, though they still get their workout. There are not really any soft and mellow short tunes in here like on the first part. Rather, the bulk of the album is taken up (I'm sure you noticed) by a single song. However, do not let that deceive you. The whole album is very strong and very individual. Don't lose sight of the other tracks on here. They stand just as good or better than the big one. The main difference, however, between this part and the first one (indeed, the difference that garnered this one a spare star) is the amount of quirky creativity throughout the album. It's very much a peerless album, in the way that Pain of Salvation writes peerless albums: no one else combines the same elements anywhere else. On this record alone, in conjunction with classic and neo-prog elements, we get disco, pirates, punk, country, Middle Eastern, and a spot of metal. Since I believe out-of-the-box creativity is the strongest asset to a progressive band, you can understand why this album would grab my attention.

The opener As the Sun Sets sounds haunting but is really nothing more than an intro track. Into the Night kicks the album into gear. The vocal melodies are catchy, the music all over the place without sounding like a bunch of random things tied together, and as a whole the track sets a powerful tone for the rest of the album. The keyboards steal the show on this one, especially with some wild soloing near the end. Into the Night walks in next with some powerful bass and creepy lyrics. Again, the complex and sophisticated music is marked by catchy (and, dare I say, accessible) vocal melodies and well written choruses. South of the Border is Zappa-inspired tune if I've ever heard one. The music not so much, necessarily, but the lyrics recall strongly the classic album Sheik Yerbouti and the many odd sexual tangents that man sang about. The middle section features some really intense drumming and guitar, but then segues into a bluegrass sort of sound that reminds me a lot of some drugged up Lynyrd Skynyrd. Cashflow is a strange instrumental song, reminiscent at points of the complex intertwining that Gentle Giant pioneered. Again, though hearkening back to that classic band, it is not a rip-off in any way of their sound or style. It very much is Beardfish writing and playing this song.

The Downward Spiral/Chimay opens with some very dark bass noises, building to intensity while guitars scrape over the top. A minute or so in, some melancholic vocals enter in the vein of Jeff Buckley (except not so falsetto-heavy). The country, folk, or maybe southern rock feel again reappears throughout the track, especially halfway through. Then comes the song that most of you are wondering about, the 36 minute title track. It's pretty solid. It does wander a bit, in truth, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts by the end. The first half is pretty solid, but it's the second half (contrary to prog standards) where the music really shines. Here we find pirates, disco (indeed, the Bee Gees), punk, and who knows what else pulling at the music and turning this track into one serious head trip. The album then closes with the little sound-effect track, Sunrise Again.

This album is not perfect, but for a young and not well-known band, this is a tremendous release and one that needs much more attention. Fans of just about any style of melodic music will find something to appreciate here. This is a very strong recommendation.

LiquidEternity | 5/5 |

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