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




Eclectic Prog

4.19 | 773 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This Swedish band was a new name for me, but estimated from the large amount of reviews, especially this album has gained a lot of positive response among prog listeners. And they absolutely deserve it! I was blown by their talent to write and perform massive epic prog pieces with various influences from FLOWER KINGS to GENTLE GIANT. Mostly the talent lies on the shoulders of their leader, singer-keyboardist-composer Rikard Sjöblom.

Just for the records, this album included the longest single track I've come across this far: nearly 36-minute 'Sleeping in Traffic'. And it has no weak parts! Even the section where the protagonist is in a disco hearing Staying Alive (which is referred to in the music) is delightful.

The eclectisism of this band operates bravely on the dangerous edge but never falling into the plainly irritating side. (Well, maybe the instrumental 'Cashflow' gets slightly irritating here and there, but the nice nod to Gentle Giant makes it up. Moreover on the negative side, I didn't really like the short instrumental tuned-piano intro and outro tracks, and a couple of longer tracks too were less up to my taste from the respectable total of 74½ minutes.) Other comparisons have been FRANK ZAPPA and 10CC - and some reviewers do think the eclectisism is simply overblown. It would have been a good bet that I would have been in that group of listeners (I seemingly can't get into Zappa for instance), but to my own surprise I enjoyed this album quite a lot. The sound is very solid, not far from the Flower Kings (replace sax by organ, add some more acoustic guitar), and the vocals are good too. Sjöblom can carry the drama with his singing too. Actually there is some sort of narrative level going on for the most of the album. However, the vocals are used sparingly and the music has longish solos here and there which makes it really enjoyable.

One of the best prog albums of the '00s, I believe. 4,5! I'm hesitating between five and four stars. Since it was no pure delight from start to end but instead included some useless moments too, let's round it up down. But this band will be remembered, I'm sure.

Matti | 4/5 |


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