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Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Let's make it short and jump right into the tracks. This I wrote as I listen to it for the first time, so this review is quite a experimental.

First one, "Awaken the Sleeping" can remind their last two albums with its name. Similar theme, but as far as I can hear, it has nothing much similar. Little bit crazy, instrumental song with good 10sec (my term for first sounds on first track which are important, at least for me). It fades slowly into silence. After few listens it reminds me "Cashflow" in some ways.

and "Destined Solitare" begins with heavy sound, heavier than in last album's -South of the Border". I feared the repeating of old themes, but I'm quite surprised. In a good way of this word, it offers even word "[%*!#]ing", I have to mention that this band don't use these words at all, till this case. Not so melodic, somewhat darker sound. I have to say that I'm not translating lyrics at the moment, so they can be quite irritating. Or very well written, it remains mystery for now. This track also contains nice guitar work, nice solos (not Han Solos). Oh my god, this vocal on 4:50 is like death metal growl. This blows instantly into *As LiquidEternity pointed out, they had S-word

"Until You Comply/Entropy" which contains singer's nice and clear vocals supported by keyboard which are strong here. And another F-word here, it's like purpose. Oh, they are playing with this word. Nice try, it works well. Well, this "Entropy" thing starts with fast waltz rhythm, that it sounds like circus music. But where are drums ? They disappeared for a moment. I almost lacked the waltz time signature from last album. And now it's here again, is this becoming band's tradition to use this ?

"In Real Life There's No Algebra". Well, bye bye brain as lyrics are saying. Song full of crazy words, that for Frank Zappa influence. Of course, I can't get these lyrics as Englishman can, but they're interesting for sure. When talking about musical style, it's kinda fast and quickly changing. Yeah, monkey see - monkey do. It's hard to switch off the brain, but believe me, you're gonna need it for this song. To fully understand it.

"Where The Rain Comes In" can't be taken literally. Well, imagine remote house in wilderness, you sitting near window and then opening it and watching raindrops falling on floor. Now forget all of this, this song is nothing like this. Only when you close your eyes and fade slowly into story. One can't take this band seriously, because of their all-time-present craziness. No offense, I like it. But you can't take this song as (for example) old fashioned love songs. The more you listen to it, the better for you. Now I feel I'm part of the story. Very pleasant song. Slow and gentle. You're gonna love it. Of course, it also have everything you expect from prog rock. Mellotron is so fine.

"At Home, Watching Movies" (I'm at home, listening Beardfish), is this supposed to be some kind of interlude ? They are offering some guitar work with lyrics (which contain word "rain" again, maybe there's a connection)

"Coup de Grace" has wonderful accordion tune. When I hear this instrument, I imagine France. You know what I mean, this tango thing connected with Paris. How the hell are they doing this, how they can blend so many things together and still sounds good. In fact it would be nice to be killed by accordion (I imagine full penetration of body organs, something right under ribs, something like being nailed), while listening this song . Except this acc. sound there's, for Beardfish typical, weird (really creepy) keyboard sound. Hard to describe.

"Abigail's Questions" is probably the strangest track here. After some words with Rev Mr. LiquidEternity (hello and thank you for encouraging me at all), we came to conclusion that they have something similar. Cut from message: ///They begin with similar style of playing, even Beardfish offer it later. It's this unmelodic change of tone, Abigail is more melody like. But in the end of Abigail there is this voice saying science things. It's very similar to thing in Inca Road. But of course, Abigail is still interesting, more targeted to vocals, clearer guitars playing more melodic music and also instruments are different. Conclusion: I think these tracks share similar things, but I see Inca Road as a perfect example of inspiration, no plagiarism. What do you think ? /// Another thing came into my mind, it's probably the best approach to science by prog music that I know. Maybe "that is existing"-

But with last track, I'm really puzzled. After perfect album I get average song with not much to offer (in contrast to rest of songs). Normal track, better average. But it's so average, that you can't tell for sure what it means at all. As some wise man said in past (about some album), it has all ingredients of good prog (Beardfish) song, but it's not perfect.

But except this one, it's masterpiece. 5ive stars (in true Beardfish playful style)

5(+), I'm still stunned, even two months ago. Also, I first just rated this and then wrote a review, so this is why I'm at first place. I wrote half of this review at the end of July, then I completed it in August.

Report this review (#226615)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hello, the first Collab to write a review? Ok, get THIS!

I like BEARDFISH. Their music, their attitude, even their name evokes positive feedback from me. But seriously, they need a break. The first LP was almost perfect, high-class Retro-Prog with obvious Heavy Psych touch, but the further BEARDFISH goes the less balanced material they release. The second part of "Sleeping in Traffic" was a crying example of material's incosistence: from throw-away seqeunces to the jewel of eponymous epic. The new one from BEARDFISH shows the same problem, but even more: it's enjoyable while you're playing it, but when you turn your player off, your head is empty. It's not like Prog must be the same way catchy as Pop does, but hello, where have all the songwriting mastery gone? From the first spin I remembered only the Algebra Song and the Accordion Instrumental, and I guess most of listeners too (2-3 tracks, not more). When you're making a 76-min long album, you should be aware of issues like this, shouldn't you? Anyway, it's good, I loved it, but BEARDFISH should not put quantity over quality. Recommended

Report this review (#229403)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not their best effort - but solid and enjoyable. Seems to fit the description of three stars.

I am hoping that Beardfish will come back in tip-top form for their next release, it will be a shame if their creativity fizzles out.

I found the vocals on Destined Solitaire to be less interesting and the instrumental bits less captivating. I want more of The Hunter and less of Until You Comply (a song that I skip now - it just grates on me).

There's still a lot to like here. I'm still in love with the keyboard sound, the varied dynamics, and the often surprising melodies. Coup De Grace is my favorite Beardfish instrumental to date.

I'm finding it hard to collect my thoughts in a cohesive way for this review, and it occurs to me that it mirrors the characteristics of this album. It's less consistent than their previous efforts. Worth a listen, I still enjoy Beardfish and am glad they seem to be grabbing some attention in the prog world. Let's just hope that they pull something amazing out next time instead of this mixed bag. An unfair expectation, maybe, but I think that's what will separate them from being a contributor to modern prog or one of the pioneers.

Report this review (#229434)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 100 word minimum? No Problem. I'm ranting a bit tonight, so instead of cranking out 10,000+, let's just focus on one song, OK? Can you tell I like the album? Can you guess what my rating is going to be?

"Like the white dot in the middle of the TV when you turn it off..." That's right, we're going to the infinite universe that is 'Abigails Qusetion.' And quoting the lyrics is not where you expect a Beardfish review to begin. I keep saying the same thing to anyone who will listen, but I can't believe how much I like the lyrics for this band. That's not supposed to be true for a prog band, or at least not usually. That's exactly the reason I've enjoyed so much international prog over the past twelve months. Take away any understanding because you're hearing Polish or Portuguese or French, or whatever. But these guys are fans of Zappa, and the written (and spoken and sung) word was such a big part of what made his music special. It was not just comedy - it communicated a big idea that could not be captured by the music alone. 'Billy the Mountain' (once described as a movie-for-your-ears) is my favorite example, but there are many others. The fascinating thing is that THESE GUYS DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH TO EACH OTHER. They don't speak English to their friends and family. And while it is clearly far more common for a Swedish person to be fluent in English than visa-versa, being able to have a nice conversation in English is one thing - writing about the infinite universe, with idiom, simile and metaphor is something else entirely. Yet, for some time now, for Rikard and the band - no problem.

Now, it's best not to speak about Zappa too much in a Beardfish review, lest the reader get the impression that this is a one-trick-pony of Mothers-impersonators. That's not the case. No way. Then why do I even bring it up again? because the music, the notes, the time signatures, the arrangements are tough, at times, on the listener, particularly the new listener. And that criticism may be reasonably directed at much of Zappa's music. And also, these guys know the Zappa schtick upside-down, backwards and forwards, and they don't care to hide that fact. The thing to remember is that it is merely a jumping off point, and it is not the thing itself. Too often I see the word 'retro' associated with this band, and I cringe. With all due respect to Mike Portnoy's very kind words about it being just like 1974, this is not retro. This is progressive. Ideas from the past, particularly those involving intensive composition, are being recombined and mixed with NEW sounds and NEW ideas to make NEW music.

"Nothing has a beginning. Nothing has an end." What a comforting thought. It reminds me of Neil Young (perhaps the most un-prog of artists) who said "It's all one song." Well, despite that lovely refrain, Abigails Question certainly does have a beginning and an end. It also has a TON of material in between, including a little chit chat about the density of space (basically a vacuum) compared to the density of complex living organisms, like tadpoles. But even with that unexpected (and very welcome) roadsign, this was the song I was waiting for on this record.

At a little more than nine minutes, this is concise, especially given the variation of music contained therein. After a very brief bit of atmosphere, the verse begins, supported by something akin to soft mellotron hits and guitar that sounds like it's processed an octave up. Drums and bass drive steadily while keys, guitar and vocal meander in a daze through the first 50 seconds. In order to get to the "Nothing has a beginning..." refrain there's a quick little somersault that feels meant to be disorienting for the listener, but it happens so fast that we find our feet right away, and are rewarded with a bit of synth melody that would make Tony Banks proud. Unlike most Genesis, that melody is with us for less than twenty seconds - which is actually a small eternity in Beardfish time. Now we're back to verse two. The short cycle basically repeats until we're just under the two minute mark. All change!

Now it's time for a somewhat anxious meditation on how an infinite universe could be a bad thing. This is matched with an unsettling up-chop on the guitar that is so not reggae. Basically the song is contemplating the spontaneous and immediate end of everything. This troubling thought leads directly into a polyrhythmic section where it seems everyone is regimented in their own march. It reminds me of Wetton-era King Crimson. We are then rescued by an instrumental statement, similar to that earlier synth melody, but now carried by the organ. There is a little groove here, almost like beautiful and mellow rock'n'roll music. Is Beardfish about to become a jam band? What do you think? This lovely bit of music goes from just before the 3 minute mark to about 3:34. Again, in the life of this song, that's a pretty nice little jam.

Now it's the same melody, transposed and counterpointed to be a little peppier and a little more edgy. At 3:57, we're back to the original key for this part, and there is a small sense of resolution, small because we know it is temporary. Just around 4:15 some synth (Moog?) foretells the next transition. It's the same key change, but VERY quickly followed by hits at the 4:36 mark (which is the exact halfway mark, by my calculation). Now we're gently meandering, noodling a bit even. Organ, bass, drums and guitar, kind of just going together, but constantly changing direction. This is hard on the listener, unless it is setting something up. Why yes, that's the same theme we just heard back at the 1:14 area. Ahhh... I feel so relaxed. i hope this is not a false sense of comfort. That floor tom is hitting a bit hard.

Now some noodling and hits and then really fast vocals about checking out the trail left from that first kiss. The lyrics are delivered so quickly that I needed to look them up, but they're followed by the old demon voice (octave down) confirming that yes, "You should totally check it out!" OK, stoner! Now, at 5:23, the stage is set for something tasty. Why, yes, that IS a delightful little clavinet solo. Such easy rockin' music is rudely interrupted by the aformentioned chat about the density of intergalactic space compared to some complex stuff here at home. This voice reminds me of the seemingly benevolent super computer controlling everything on the starship, which computer (emotionless) may or may not be planning on killing the crew. What IS definitely killing is Rikard's organ solo, which only runs from 6:40 to 7:16. Again, that's a long time to be in the same progression for this song. What I love is the maturity on that tiny little solo. He's got a very small amount of space and he delivers chops AND emotion. It is an ecstatic high point to the record and perfectly sets up the rest of the band to take us home.

Repeat that extra fast lyric and then we close in on the BIG FINISH - YES!! Nothing has a beginning, Nothing has an end! Except with those sustaining Hammond chords and the very tasteful and understated guitar melody accents, we're pretty much in jam band heaven from 7:28 to the finish. It is an extremely rewarding finale for a listener who has gone through the whole experience described above and it shows the emotional power that this quartet can muster to bring the chaos to a sublime conclusion.

The rest of the record is also very good.

Report this review (#229850)
Posted Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars (solid 4.5) Its been far too long since I've heard a band grow outward without clinging inwardly to 'what works-(ed)' . The production is wonderful as well, making 'less' sound like 'more' as the instrumentation thins and the sound thickens - -psychedelically inclined yet concise--influenced yet experimental--daring and proud as they leap forwards, Beardfish builds on treasures past without becoming predictable. ...sure, the Zappa-esgue humor shoots through this platter both in note and word, and sure i hear traces of Floyd in the Keys , and-and.. so what--as the old saying reminds: "all musicians 'steal' , but the best steal from the best "; and how/why can this be avoided? Its osmosis fer chrissake, nature and nurture and the sound(s) that surrounds each of us during our own musical development and artistic walkabout. In other words : "our little boy has grow up" Touring has clearly armed these cats with 'road-chops' from hell, and, on 'Destined Solitaire', Beardfish takes this seemingly newfound tightness/togetherness and individual melodic-muscle into the studio like the proud fathers of newfound explosion. The 'wit' that many have either loved or hated is stronger and more acidic here than on previous outings. The anger is as hot as the "humor" and as cold as it is is pointed. this album was clearly written with a "for us"(band) attitude, that in this new 100 mp3's a second world is more than refreshing. Being a professional musician and guitar teacher for 30-some-odd years creates the unfortunate yearning to over-analyze the playing ... usually... not here; its a simple case of obvious expansion and improvement, nothing more, certainly nothing less. Choices (where should the B3 go?"-"should i play 'this' line?"--"how can this frame the lyric best?") have been made with bigger ears than those that created the lovable 'Sleeping In Traffic Part Two' and almost as lovable 'Part One' -- if these guys keep growing at this rate we'll have to shoot them from the Empire State building like a paisley King Kong with a victim of 'pop-culture' in his hand ... i always routed for Kong myself.


Report this review (#230043)
Posted Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It was with anticipation of great things that I first listened to the new Beardfish album Destined Solitaire a week ago, Sleeping In Traffic Part 2 having been in my top 5 favourite albums 0f 2008. I've sat on it for a week without reviewing it for the simple reason that at first I was a little under whelmed by it. Surely Beardfish couldn't produce something so mediocre? Well it was worth persevering with as Destined Solitaire is a grower that slowly reveals its charms with repeated listens.

All the Beardfish trademarks are in place, the quirky instrumentals, they still sound like they came from the seventies, partly down to their organic production; no processed sounds here and their choice of instrumentation. The Hammond again features heavily and the guitar, bass and drums sound natural. You can imagine the sound you are hearing is the sound coming out in the studio before being recorded. As well as the symphonic touches the Zappa influences are still highly prevalent, particularly in the phrasing of some of the vocal lines and there's still that quirkiness to their sound that makes them sound Beardfish actually. There's even a bit of funk thrown in for good measure. Yes there's nobody quite like them and are well placed as eclectic prog.

So why the initial hesitation in liking it? Part of the problem was there's so much music on here to digest lasting 77 minutes and its not as immediate as the past couple of albums, the melodies aren't as obvious, you have to dig a bit deeper for them. It's also more complex than anything they've done before but after 7 or 8 plays it proves to be an excellent record.

Most of the tracks are fairly long, around the 10 minute mark which gives them plenty of space for lots of instrumental moments. None better than title track Destined Solitaire with more twists and turns than a maze but augmented by a great vocal performance from mainman Rikard Sjöblom apart from the 4 lines of death metal vocals! Ah but this is Beardfish so surely tongues are firmly in cheek. Until You Comply including Entropy is another highlight and lasts 15 minutes. Again there's a lot going on here. Jazzy zappa- esque flourishes and surely no Beardfish album would be complete without its 3/4 time Oohm pah pah moment, very Scandinavian. There's a moment on here that sounds like the theme from a classic western with David Zackrisson's guitar soloing on top; The Big Country I think but don't quote me on that.

The only disappointment is instrumental Coup De Grace, which although enjoyable enough outstays its welcome at almost 10 minutes and starts to wear a bit thin.

Overall then, without going into details of every track, if not reaching the heights of Sleeping In Traffic Part Two, Beardfish have produced another strong album at least as good as or better than their first 3 records. This time though it's a bit more demanding and requires a few plays to get under your skin. Well worth persevering with though.

Report this review (#230370)
Posted Friday, August 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Beardfish are one of the more unique progressive rock acts to appear in the last decade. I thoroughly enjoyed "Sleeping In Traffic" 1 & 2, and was very much looking forward to finally getting a copy of their newest effort, "Destined Solitaire." I wanted to get at least 4 spins down before I sat down to write this review. We all know that sometimes great music isn't obvious after one listen. With that said, one must also know when to say when. And, in the case of "Destined Solitaire", I'm not just saying "when", I'm shouting it! Very simply, the things that I loved about S.I.T 1 & 2 are missing from this album. Sure, the group hits a high mark in terms of technical ability. In some instances, the music on this disk is more complex that the last two albums. However, complex doesn't mean better, and that fact couldn't be more apparent than on this disc. Many of the songs seem to drag on without any rhyme or reason, and the playfulness of their previous outings has been replaced by what I can only describe as an angry vibe. It's apparent in the music, but especially in the vocals; normally one of my favorite aspects of Beardfish, now sounding forced and overly urgent. Additionally, the "Death Metal" vocal within the title track might be one of the single worst examples if its use. I personally like extreme metal, but it's not this band's core competency.

Overall, this is not a great album. I won't go into a song-by-song lecture. With that said, it's worth noting that the first half of the album is superior to the second half; and, if "Until You Comply" is a worthy track that could have sat well on the last album. I was really looking forward to this album, and now I must admit that it's my first real musical disappointment this year. I hope that they write a better batch of songs for the next record.

Report this review (#235562)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Swedish act Beardfish has really struck gold with this latest effort of theirs.

Their musical foundation is firmly rooted in the music of the 70's, with vintage keyboards and organ dominating the proceedings throughout. Their influences are numerous though, fans of acts like Genesis, Santana and Pink Floyd will all find familiar elements on Destined Solitaire.

But first and foremost Beardfish appear to be following in the footsteps of Gentle Giant this time around. Quirky, shifting compositions with unpredictable, surprising and at times wild developments is the name of the game here, and while they take care to always include passages of a distinct symphonic nature as well as highly melodic and captivating sequences, challenging features are liberally spread throughout the album - more often than not encapsulated in energetic or strong atmospheric sequences where the emotional impact to some extent hides the quirkiness of the proceedings.

Creative, innovative and unpredictable music, strong compositions and excellent performances - this is art rock at it's finest, and a strong contender for album of the year as far as I'm concerned. At least for those who are fond of quirky, challenging art rock.

Report this review (#246153)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Closer and closer to Gentle Giant, closer and closer to masterpiece

I think Beardfish is one of these contemporary bands, that makes an improvement in form with every next release. There isn't exception with the release of Destined Solitaire. It's fresh, profound and really innovative. With Destined Solitaire Beardfish looks like Gentle Giant more and more, but without stealing themes and ideas. They just improve their own art rock style. I'm very attracted by some of the motifs on the album. Especially the bringing in of some themes from different genres (death growls on homonymous song, rap singing on In Real Life There Is No Algebra, frequent use of accordion), a lot of tempo changes, saturated sound, artistic vocals and many more. I'm surprised with the low interest in PA for reviewing this album after successful Sleeping in Traffic Part Two. Only 39 votes after 6 months of its release. In my opinion one of the bests of 2009 - 4,2 stars.

Highlights in Destined Solitaire:

1.Coup de Grâce. /flawless/

2.Destined Solitaire. /true masterpiece/

3.Where the Rain Comes In. /highly recommended eclectic song/

Report this review (#251709)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's interesting how, for the Beardfish albums I have listened to, the cover art perfectly matches the music inside.

Sleeping in Traffic part 1: A white background with a sketch of a man walking a beardfish in the center. The music: Smooth, fluid, clean, yet the themes seeming to be in a little bit of disarray (melancholy and anger, putting the pieces back together, or failing to do so). Nicely centered.

Sleeping in Traffic, Part 2: Darker cover, what looks like a coffee ring in the center, a distorted looking man in the lower left corner. Darker, heavier music that seems just a little more disjointed, and seems to convey the feelings of a man who failed to put the pieces together and is now living an insane life.

Destined Solitaire: Seemingly unrelated but chaotic images that somehow still look really cool together. The music: Seemingly unrelated and chaotic but somehow still sounds really good.

The first time through an album, I usually have a good guess if I will like it or not. I may not necessarily "get" it, but I will have an idea what my experience with it is likely to be. This album was one of those puzzling albums where, the first time through, I really didn't think I liked it, yet I wanted to put it on and listen to it again.

Nothing in the music grabbed me in the same, fluid, grab you on the first pass way Sleeping in Traffic Part 1 did. None of it rocked as hard as the heavier or more insane parts of Sleeping in Traffic Part 2 did. Other than the fact that the music sounded like it was Beardfish behind the instruments, this album did not grab me in the same ways the previous two albums had. But, unlike some albums, where after the first listen I feel that there is not going to be much more to hear, I felt intrigued to hear more. I knew that there was something there - that there was some glory behind these mystifying tracks - and so I continued to listen.

I was correct. What I had originally perceived as messy, disorganised tracks that moved from one idea to the next without the fluidity that Beardfish had demonstrated previously quickly revealed themselves to be at least on par with what Beardfish had done before. And then the tracks grew beyond that point, each sticking in my head and begging to be heard again. In each song, so many ideas were intertwining and criss crossing, that I was getting different parts of the same song stuck in my head at various times, and I had to listen to the whole album to figure out what song was stuck in my head.

How did Beardfish do this? How did they turn a single disc into such a collage of interesting, varied sounds? How did they get away with swearing more than they ever have before, without it even bothering me (when swearing in music I usually find unnecessary and annoying)? And how did they keep this album fresh for so many listens?

In the end, I had to listen to this album over 20 times before I really understood how the pieces fit together. But it was not a tortuous, "Once I reach this point, I will appreciate this album" experience like I have had with some albums in the past. I was excited to hear it each time. To hear the parts that I had uncovered the previous time again, to uncover new parts that would intrigue and excite me.

For weeks, I had to listen to this album every day. Some days, multiple times a day. I had high expectations after the sleeping in traffic discs, and yet I never expected this. Beardfish continues to evolve with each disc, changing what it is that makes them intriguing and interesting.

Final rating? I find it hard to consider giving this album five stars, because even after so many listens, there is still a certain 'dirtiness' to the sound here. Yet that dirtiness is part of the charm, part of the appeal that made me have to listen to this album so many times, that drove me to try to understand it. So at the same time, I have a hard time giving this album anything but a five star rating.

I don't even need to describe any tracks. Each track is strong, and while a couple in the middle are not quite as strong as the rest of the album, it doesn't matter.

Now if only Beardfish were to come to Canada, so I could see them play some of this delicious madness live :)

Now I have but to wait for their next album ... on the path that they are on, it will be strange, new, hard to digest, and better than ever.

Report this review (#255677)
Posted Friday, December 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Beardfish has always been a hit-or-miss band for me; I love some of their work while I absolutely detest other work. This album is one of those that I don't particularly enjoy. The sound here is very eclectic, but moreover very symphonic prog rock sounding. The tracks are all composed well enough if a little bit random at times, but the title track and "Coup de Grace" are the only stood out at all after listening to the album over a few times. As usual, the vocals are very strong and are probably the best part of the album, although the guitar tone is also fantastic. Beardfish has a sound that is kind of their own, and it isn't for everyone though it is mildly accessible to the beginning progressive rock fan, which is exactly who I'd recommend this album to. It really doesn't do much for me even though "Coup de Grace" is one of the band's best tracks.
Report this review (#431115)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I still feel that these guys sound like a cross between Frank Zappa and WIGWAM. So yes there is lots of humour in the lyrics and they drop several "F" bombs along the way.The organ, vocals and drums are most prominant. I felt that this album didn't hit me like the previous one, it's not as dynamic as they seem to stretch passages out quite often. Still I can give nothing less than 4 stars and I do expect this one to grow on me more than it has so far. And it is too long at almost 77 minutes.

"Awaken The Sleeping" is a good intrumental with lots of organ as drums and bass support. It's spacey late then this powerful atmosphere ends it. "Destined Solitaire" sounds great early with that guitar then it kicks in with vocals. Love the lyrics. Some brief growly vocals before 5 minutes. Nice crunchy bass in this one.The guitar is lighting it up before 9 minutes then the vocals return after 10 minutes.

"Until You Comply (Including Entropy) is the longest track at almost 15 1/2 minutes. Classic BEARDFISH with those WIGWAM styled vocals and humerous lyrics as the bass, drums and organ lead instrumentally. It turns slower paced around 6 minutes and reserved vocals come in at 7 1/2 minutes then it kicks in. It settles back again as the tempo continues to shift. It's lighter with silly vocal melodies 12 minutes in. Ripping guitar before 13 minutes with powerful organ runs. It then settles with piano after 14 minutes then the vocals return to end it. "In Real Life There Is No Algebra" here here ! A catchy rhythm at first with vocals but those vocals do become the focus.

"Where The Rain Comes In" has a good uptempo intro with lots of organ.Vocals 2 minutes in as it settles back. Again the is pretty funny. It kicks in with organ. "At Home...Watching Movies" has percussion, clapping and strummed guitar as the vocals join in.

"Coup De Grace" has accordion in it with bass and a beat.The organ floats in. It settles then kicks back in with power after 3 1/2 minutes. More accordion later. "Abigail's Questions (In An Infinite Universe)" has some brief atmosphere as the music kicks in and the vocals follow. It's fairly laid back overall. It turns a little jazzy before 6 minutes. Female spoken words come in and then the male vocals are back. Guitar after 8 minutes.

"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" has some excellent sounding vocals and piano at one point. It settles before 2 minutes then picks up at 3 1/2 minutes. It picks up more 8 1/2 minutes in with the drums and organ leading.

An enjoyable album that I am drawn to simply because of that BEARDFISH sound. 4 stars.

Report this review (#480475)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Destined Solitaire is Beardfish's fifth record from 2009. The band consisted of Rikard Sjöblom, David Zackrisson, Robert Hansen and Magnus Östgren. I have enjoyed some of their albums and they do very talanted and special music, perfectly matching the progressive ear. You can talk about influences and say you hear Zappa and Samla mammas manna hear but primarily it is Beardfish and nothing more. They create very pleasant soundscapes with fantasy and passion. I though of Renaissance in one song: the piano in "Cou de Grace" had som symphonic classical feeling in a song with a french sounding harmonium for example. A beautiful instrumental song. The first song: "Awaken the sleeping" is also instrumental and very good with whirling keys. The best track is the longest: "Until you comply/ Entropy". That song is amazing. It is coherent it allways gives you something new. The melody and the vocals is thrilling. The lyrics are strange and exciting. A brilliant piece. "Where the rain comes in" is an adventurous trip with some jazz and som rock and som symphonics. It tales a tale in words and vocals.

No track on this disc is bad or mediocre. It is a high quality in everything. Beardfish had honed their music til that day. There are a lot to enjoy here, and to listen to again and again. My problem is the lenght of this record. They could have hamde it even more perfect with cut som minutes away and concentrated on the best songs. This is all good but prolonged. It's too much time to give this record five stars but it's really worth four. Yes you can find interesting parts in every composition here and you won't be disappointed. This is a record and a group I would recommend every day. Best song: "Until you comply/entropy". The singer has also a nice voice.

Report this review (#957816)
Posted Saturday, May 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars 'Till you comply with their madness

I have spinned and enjoyed this album a few times now but it always leaves me with the same feeling: that of confusion.

Beardfish are a very talented and educated (from what I can hear in their music) band. They have a pretty unique, absolutely eclectic style, borrowing from the past, yet being ridiculously modern. Throughout this album I see so many ups and downs, get overly excited and disappointed within the same track a few times, and end up unsure of whether what I listened to was a masterpiece or a bunch of well-educated jazz/prog passages put together on an ad-hoc manner. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

From the first track the effect that Gentle Giant and Zappa have had on Beardfish's music is evident. Flirting with, but never utterly reaching avant-garde, they seem to borrow from the symphonic elements of ELP and take their music forward with a very modern approach. There are several intentional "atonal" passages that simultaneously put me off and create some curiosity. Their lyrics are full of irony, utterly interesting and have a social/political tone - see "Until you Comply", one of the best tracks in here and with similarities to The Tangent. Quirkiness, quirkiness, quirkiness... is everywhere. From the accordion-led instrumental "Coup de Grace" to the VDGG-influenced "Abigail's Questions", the album surprises in all fronts. Especially dominant is the use of organ that provides a retro- and epic feeling at the same time (see the end of the closing track...).

"In real life there is no algebra" they claim, but in this album the maths are for the experienced solvers. For those that love quirky prog, this is probably a must, for the rest this could be a love-or-hate album. 3+ stars.

Highlights: Until you Comply, Coup de Grace, the irony in the lyrics

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Posted Friday, June 28, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars It must have been a lot of pressure for eclectic retro-rockers Beardfish to follow-up to the critically successful Sleeping in Traffic saga. That they managed to come up with nearly 80 minutes of music only a year after is proof of melodic talents. Whereas Traffic was musically centered on hard rock, blues, funk, fusion and everything in between (tango, accordion), Destined Solitaire is at the same time heavier and more instrumentally challenging (title track, Awaken the Sleeping), and has a more relaxed, bar lounge-y vibe (most other songs).

In hindsight, however, Beardfish would have been better served by refining their songs a bit more. In an industry with often many years between albums, who would have blamed them? All songs have interesting ideas, but some parts wouldn't pass quality control. There is a line between quirky, surprising inserts in songs and them being plain annoying.

Report this review (#1072250)
Posted Monday, November 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Swedish prog formation Beardfish their latest effort (8th album) is from 2015 (with the funny title +4626 ' Comfortzone) and the latest Beardfish review on PA is from January 2018. I would like to go back to their fifth CD entitled Destined Solitaire from 2009, featuring a colourful, intricate triple fold-out-cover painting.

It sounds as a logical successor of their previous CD, the highly acclaimed Sleeping In Traffic : Part Two (2008): a varied, dynamic and a bit quirky sound, lots of interesting musical ideas and influences that range from The Beatles and Frank Zappa to Gentle Giant, Yes and Spock's Beard.

Their variety is incredible, just listen to the totally different atmospheres in the first four compositions.

A pleasant keyboard-oriented sound (lots of Hammond along piano and harpsichord) with a catchy beat in the instrumental Awaken The Sleeping.

The focus on fiery and biting electric - and delicate acoustic guitar work, with hints from Led Zeppelin in the exciting, often heavy rocking title track.

Around 15 minutes with captivating shifting moods and wonderful vintage keyboards (Hammond, Mellotron) in Until You Comply Including Entropy.

And a sound similar to Frank Zappa in the swinging In Real Life There Is No Algebra (even the humor of Frank Zappa!). What an interesting musical journey!

Very special is the alternating instrumental Coup De Grace (a tribute to keyboard player and singer Rikard his grandfather) due to the blend of accordion, this gives the climate a Parisian touch, beautiful!

I am very pleased with the omnipresence of the powerful and distinctive Hammond organ on this album, like in the tracks Where The Rain Comes In (strong interplay between bass and Hammond) and the compelling Abigail's Questioning (a swinging clavinet solo and a sensational fiery guitar solo with lush Mellotron). And especially in the splendid final composition The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: varied vintage keyboards (Moog, Hammond and Mellotron) and a bombastic final part featuring a propulsive rhythm-section and spectacular Hammond work with a subtle wink to The Nice.

Although at some moments to me Beardfish sounds a bit without direction because of too many ideas in one song or a 'jam- session-like structure', in general Destined Solitaire delivers lots of interesting and captivating progrock, a big hand for these four creative Swedish minds!

My rating: 3,5 star.

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Posted Monday, March 11, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another excellent output by this talented Swedish band. The first composition is an excellent moody instrumental workout led by keyboards. The band is not ashamed to display the vast array of influences ranging from the 70's (Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Genesis, Kansas) to more modern bands such as Opeth. "Destined Solitaire" has even short growling vocals imitating Mikael Akerfeldt. It is really an eclectic 11-minute dynamic composition. The Opeth influence is broadened by acoustic guitars and whispered vocals a la Morningrise from 1996. The epic "Until you comply..." has cleverly composed parts with references to Frank Zappa. " Coup De Grâce (or How I Was Killed By An Accordion - Motown Style)" is another creative song dominated by accordion and hammond with semi French style and then proceeding to slow heavy rhythm. There are many clever moments that you simply have to listen to the entire album and enjoy every second of it.
Report this review (#2271500)
Posted Sunday, October 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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