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Beardfish Sleeping in Traffic - Part One album cover
4.07 | 552 ratings | 25 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. On the Verge of Sanity... (0:47)
2. Sunrise (7:54)
3. Afternoon Conversation (3:42)
4. And Never Know (5:59)
5. Roulette (12:07)
6. Dark Poet (3:24)
7. Harmony (7:20)
8. The Ungodly Slob (6:42)
9. Year of the Knife (7:28)
10. Without You (2:39)
11. Same Old Song (7:51)

Total Time 65:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Rikard Sjöblom / vocals, acoustic & electric (left speaker) guitars, keyboards, accordion, percussion
- David Zackrisson / acoustic & electric (right speaker) guitars, percussion
- Robert Hansen / bass
- Magnus Östgren / drums, percussion, screaming vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Hanna Lindkvist

CD Inside Out Music ‎- SPV 79492 CD (2007, Germany)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- 7949-2 (2011, Germany)

Thanks to Rivertree for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BEARDFISH Sleeping in Traffic - Part One ratings distribution

(552 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BEARDFISH Sleeping in Traffic - Part One reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars I saw this CD in Lugansk shop somewhere between indie/pop-rock albums. Melancholic artwork made me think of something RADIOHEAD-related, so I took it from the shelf and turned on. And boy this was Prog. Need I say I bought it?

BEARDFISH are one of these bands that can turn you back to prog after a long hiatus. I had some kind of it this May, when anything Prog/Prog-related failed to catch my attention. But WICKED MINDS’ brilliant album and later this one turned back into the Family ;) . BEARDFISH sound very Scandinavish, with lush Hammond/Mellotron work, some flutes and accordions, crunchy guitars and very professional and emotional vocals. In fact, best band to compare would be SIMON SAYS (vocals are almost the same in fact!). If you heard these fellow countrymen of BEARDFISH, you already know what to expect. But wait, BEARDFISH is more different and free in style; they didn’t walk GENESIS-only path, they are like another unique Swedish band RITUAL – they try almost any genre (“Same Old Song” begins with jazzy mood and ends almost like indie- Prog epic; wonderful blues “Harmony” has some ELPish leanings – try to imagine it!), from ballads (“Without You”, “Dark Poet”) to True Symphonic (12-min epic “Roulette”). Tight musicianship, excellent quality, emotional performance and astonishing songwriting (very original) – and you got a wonderful Prog album as a result! One of the best from 2007 I guess! Symphomaniacs and Art-Rock devotees, this is yours! I meant “ours” ;)

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars When I started to review this album, I had the idea that this was a new USA band with their debut release but thanks to Prog-jester (who did the other Beardfish review), I discovered this band is from Sweden and somewhere I read that they will perform on a Dutch progrock festival in June or July.

The sound of Beardfish on their third CD is quite alternating and I am impressed by the tasteful arrangements, strong vocals and instrumental variety: the short intro On The Verge Of Sanity contains accordeon, then the next track Sunrise delivers good interplay between guitar and organ, an interlude with warm piano play and in my opinion the vocals are an extra instrument! The other seven tracks range from dreamy, swinging and bombastic to fluent rhythms and even blues like in Harmony featuring delicate work on guitar, organ and vocals. Very progressive/symphonic are the compositions The Ungodly Slob (fiery guitar, lush organ and a sensational synthesizer solo), Year Of The Knife (swinging with the sound of the clavinet, a biting guitar solo and suddenly in the final part a short violin solo) and Same Old Song (wonderful keyboards, varied guitar play and a compelling final part).

I you are up to varied and adventurous prog, this new album by Beardfish will delight you!

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beardfish are a 4 piece from Sweden and play progressive rock of the highest quality. Excellent musicianship on songs with many twists and turns, though not complex in the way Dream Theater are for example. Their sound whilst displaying many characteristics of classic 70's Prog has their own style bringing it up to date for the 21st Century.

The band are good and very tasteful players, never overplaying but able to display their skills when needed. Vocalist Rikard Sjoblom has an excellent distinctive voice, quite mellow sounding but the powers there if he needs it. He also contributes guitar, keyboards, percussion and even the occasional accordion. The rest of the band are no slouches though and follow the subtle changes of the songs with ease.

Short instrumental opener "..On the Verge of Sanity" leads into the excellent "Sunrise" and one of my favourite tracks on the album, but to be honest they rarely put a foot wrong throughout an album full of highlights. "Roulette" at just over 12 minutes is the longest track on the album and if you didn't already know they were from Sweden you could probably have a good guess from the European sound to this song. Nicely positioned in the centre of the album the tone is taken right down with the beautiful "Dark Poet" which is followed by the Bluesy "Harmony".

The album finishes with "Same Old Song (Sunset)" revisiting the refrain of "Sunrise" towards the end; an excellent way to close an album almost certain to be in my top 10 2007 releases. Buying up the back catalogue is now a must for me and I can't recommend this album highly enough.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Right after Christmas last year I met Hardiansyah Rizal who was on year end holiday in Jakarta. He has been working in Singapore since three years ago. My prog meeting with Rizal has always been very unique. Before he moved to Singapore, we sometime gathered together for a prog meeting right after office hours at his office because my going home way pass across his office. We typically spent about two to four hours meeting until midnight. We talked a lot about prog music (pssst ..!!! Sometimes we talked about power metal too .!!!) while playing some CDs that we have just received from amazon or laser edge or Or sometimes we talked about CDs that I received directly from the bands due to my involvement with progarchives and That's the nice thing being a reviewer .. receiving free CDs (not for sale version) from prog bands.

Last year end meeting with him was different because we held the meeting at local café down town and I bring my laptop to play some CDs together. What so interesting was when he introduced me a band called Beardfish that I had never heard the name before (pity me! How come I claim myself as prog man but knew nothing about this Swedish band?). So far we talked about prog and professional life especially for him being in Singapore, I was blown away by the music of Beardfish. I then went to progarchives website and checked about this band and found colleague collaborators Erik, Prog-Jester and Ricochet had penned their views excellently here. I was so motivated to have another spin of this album. In fact, I kept replaying the album right after I listened to it the first spin in its entirety. It was really a JOY listening to this album. It has been so long that I need this kind of music. This site describes it well that this is categorized under "electic prog" and has received many influences from Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Zappa. I just need to add that there is a bit of influence from Jethro Tull as well.

Let's have a musical journey with "Sleeping in Traffic: Part One" .

A wonderful opening!

It starts in ambient nuance through an accordion sound "On The Verge Of Sanity" (0:47) and it moves seamlessly with a blast of upbeat music as intro part of "Sunrise" (7:54) in an elegant way. Honest, I am impressed by the kind of music this intro part delivers to my ears and it strikes through my mind wonderfully. The music is quite symphonic in nature and it later it has beautiful break right before the first verse of vocal line enters the music. I can sense the element of Van der Graff Generator in the music. The melody that the singer sings is so catchy and also the piano solo that accompanies the singing is also catchy. What makes the song so powerful is the inclusion of screaming performed by the band's drummer Magnus Östgren. This is truly a masterpiece track and it serves as wonderful opening!

. and here they go ..a beautiful break!

The next track "Afternoon Conversation" (3:42) is basically a drumless song with magnificent guitar playing which reminds me to Steve Howe of Yes. The song serves as a beautiful break that flows naturally with unusual melody but the more you listen to it, you will see it's really catchy. It then moves back to an upbeat tempo music with rocking style "And Never Know" (5:59). Talking about musical vein? At first it sounds like early King Crimson and later when guitar starts to roll, there is a similarity with Jethro Tull, especially "Too Old To Rock n Roll, Too Young To Die" song on the way the guitar is played. The singing style is truly energetic and sometimes involving high register notes with screaming style. Honestly, this is a great track! "Roulette" (12:07) opening reminds me to another Swedish band A.C.T. or Supertramp to be a bit precise. However, when the keyboard enters, it wipes out every single similarity I can withdraw from this piece because it's quite original in style. The singing style is quite unique especially when it is combined with unique keyboard / organ work. It's really good. This song moves wonderfully with multi-styles combining many elements of music.

"Dark Poet (3:24)" provides The Beatles style of music with nice piano work that accompanies vocal. ". "Harmony" (7:20) brings together the element of Gentle Giant, King Crimson and a flavor of Procol Harum. But Gentle Giant is much obvious. The stream of this song might sound weird to some people but it works really well with me. I love how the vocal sings high and low register notes nicely. "The Ungodly Slob" (6:42) is truly an excellent progressive rock band with its dynamic structure combining complex arrangements and inventive keyboard work.

..and the excellent concluding tracks ..

The three concluding tracks are all excellent. "Year Of The Knife" (7:28) sounds like combining the music of Gentle Giant - thanks God with great guitar work! - and classic rock music like Beck, Bogert, Appice. The song style is quite unique especially the combination of guitar work and the music beats, accompanied with excellent singing style. "Without You" (2:39) is an excellent ballad with great acoustic guitar work accompanying mellow singing. "Same Old Song (Sunset)" (7:51) is another excellent style with good mellotron sound.


Overall, this is an excellent album that suit those of you who expect dynamic structure and some sort of complexity combined with nice melody. For those of you who are new to prog music, this album might take you quite sometime to get you familiar with what the band is trying to do. But for those who have known King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Zappa, I don't think you have difficulty in digesting and - in fact - enjoying this excellent album. Bravo Sweden! The Land of Progressive Music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Menswear
5 stars Wow and wow.

2007 has been THE most prolific progressive rock year 1973? Oh well, Beardfish is a good, nay, great band and their effort on Sleeping in Traffic must be recognized as 'new generation of ye olde sounde'.

Beardfish (like Ritual and Wobbler) is giving hommage to the greats of the 70's, in particular Gentle Giant and Novalis. But the whole album is rich with melodies and non-complicated song structures and choruses. The group is not aiming on technical flamboyance but on a cozy atmosphere, with nice classical guitar moments and vintage Novalis-like keyboards (like Sommerabend).Beardfish is not a walk in the park in some moments, their ability to rock hard is sprinkled here and there, but more in a grunge way than the metal.

The vocals are refreshing and original (no Fish copies here). I like the singer's range and he reminds me mostly of Violent Silence and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden/ Audioslave.

Get a chance to listen before buying, since this album is their first 'great' moment, but I'm gladly surprised of the results.

Nominee for best album of 2007.

Review by russellk
5 stars It is for albums such as this, and its equally brilliant successor, that ProgArchives exists.

This band, and this album, more than any other, represents the shining apex of retro-prog, the crowning achievement of a band able to evoke the classic progressive period of the 1970s by using associative techniques rather than aping styles and/or melodies, by applying stellar songwriting skills and musicianship laced with wicked humour, by playing what they love and letting the chips fall where they may.

There is simply not a better example of modern retro-prog anywhere. Better, in my opinion, than THE FLOWER KINGS, better than TRANSATLANTIC, or MAGIC PIE, or WOBBLER; better even than ANEKDOTEN, better than any neo-prog. It's like ANGLAGARD's 'Hybris' with better music and great vocals. This is the place you ought to come to if you think good music finished in 1978.

I'm not arguing here that the two-album set 'Sleeping in Traffic' is more creatively original than other progressive bands working at present on the experimental margins of music. This album does not set out as its primary objective to break musical barriers. As it becomes more well-known it will attract negative reviews from those who see it as their mission to disparage anything derivative.

So what makes this so darn good? First, the band's influences are many and varied. They bring the playfulness and acerbic humour of FRANK ZAPPA to the table, and stir in a fair degree of the joyous counterpoint of GENTLE GIANT. This mixture is infused with the symphonic sensibilities of ANGLAGARD and meaningful lyrics (based around the concept of 'a day in the life'), all spiced with an eclecticism not seen in music these days. Underlying it all is rock; unashamed, sophisticated rock. Hooks galore, riffs to remember, vocals with testosterone - evoking KIEDIS and BUCKLEY - clever harmonies, guitar licks, swirly keyboards, thumping drums. Absolutely no weak points, not a song out of place, not an instrument too few or too many. And a symphonic structure that, over the course of two and a half hours of music and two albums, brings us back to where we started with a repleteness I've seldom experienced in music.

Epic grandeur.

It all begins with the glorious 'Sunrise'. This track sets out the band's stall. Step right up, hooks for sale, complex rhythms, a song that goes in many directions, with beautiful piano and acoustic guitar, a great opening theme and thoughtful but not over-cryptic lyrics. You shouldn't have to wait for weeks for this to make sense. Like the best of retro-prog, it sounds familiar without being a shameless copy - so that when the band's original amalgams and fearsome chops appear (such as at 3:30) they are anchored in more than forty years of history. Turn it up loud. Prog rock is rock, after all.

The next two tracks are beautiful counterpoints to that fearsome opening. 'Afternoon conversation' shows they can write an excellent ballad, that this talented bunch know how to do beauty as well as grandeur. A wonderful acoustic motif reminds me of PHIL KEAGGY (look him up). 'And Never Know' returns us to rock territory, back to those complex rhythms, with a top-40 chorus, and is followed by the album's centrepiece, 'Roulette', a mini-epic containing everything that makes prog rock great. A SUPERTRAMP-like opening (complete with cheesy synth) prefaces an ANTHONY KIEDIS-like vocal and we're off into a rollicking multi-part epic exploring religion from a very personal perspective. Enough to get the juices flowing and the brain ticking. Near the end the keyboards deliberately evoke JETHRO TULL's 'A Passion Play' - not to rip it off, but playfully, knowingly, cleverly. 'Dark Poet' is just plain beautiful, a shimmering BEATLESQUE poem of the very highest quality, frankly too good to be buried on an obscure album like this.

'Harmony' and 'Ungodly Slob' - the latter an eclectic instrumental - raise the prog bar even further, both a wild mish-mash of prog sounds from bands as diverse as PINK FLOYD (the octave-separated bass notes), SKY and YES, along with some mellow jazzy chic a la THE FLOWER KINGS, that somehow come together and make sense. 'The Ungodly Slob' ought to satisfy anyone with eclectic tastes. 'Year of the Knife' explores the same territory as the opener, a great rocker that manages to prog out at the same time. 'Without You' offers a short respite, and 'Same Old Song (Sunset)' finished the album - and the day, the first twelve of the 24 hours this two-album concept covers - in exactly the way you'd expect, reprising the opening theme in dramatic fashion.

If you're cruising the archives in search of something original to enliven a jaded palette, move on. Come back when you're ready to hear some splendid music. If you're here to hear prog rock, this is the album for you. The listening won't be difficult. Instant reward for your money.

BEARDFISH is the definition of a band that deserves to be better known. Your turn now.

Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars Beardfish is a band that is rapidly gaining ground, and with a release like their two part Sleeping in Traffic idea, the reasons why are pretty clear.

First off, I must note that while the band is clearly throwing tributes out to some of their favorite 70s prog bands, the music, while reminiscent of some of these, is independent and completely unique to the band. That is, of course, also not to say that all of the songs here are simply tributes to other ones. A few might be classified as such, but the majority are Beardfish tunes, through and through. The Zappa influence is a lot stronger on the second part of the two album series, but even here it is notable. As far as the band goes, the vocalist, interestingly enough, reminds me often of Jeff Buckley, though he spends less time in falsetto and in long wails. The instruments are all what you'd expect, with talented guitars, quirky keyboards, and some jazzy drums. The bass guitar, I must add, gets a workout and gets its own spotlight often, which is a huge plus. It really adds to the sound. In a number of ways, this is a less pompous, less heavy, and less complicated Pain of Salvation, in a good way. It has the same strengths (great vocalist, clever instrument lines, intriguing songwriting) with less of a single-writer feel.

The album opens with the little intro ...On the Verge of Sanity. It segues then into Sunrise, a solid and catchy track that showcases a very odd and unique keyboard solo, among other things. The vocalist even dabbles in a rough and almost screaming style at the end, which simply shows that the band is fully willing to use any tool at their disposal. Afternoon Conversation is a shorter and more poppy tune, being pretty mellow. The guitars and the vocals really play off each other well when they're both present. And Never Know is a fair bit wilder and almost punk-influenced at points. On this track, too, the guitars and vocals are the most impressive aspect, though the bass really gets some groove in there. Next comes this album's longest track, Roulette, a more neo-prog sort of tune, reminiscent of later IQ or modern Galahad. The chorus is catchy and emotive, but the true highlight here is the wonderful keyboard work, such as the accordion bit near the end of the song. Very clever and slightly Eastern European. Dark Poet is another gentle and poppish track in the vein of Afternoon Conversation, though, like the title would suggest, it's much darker and more haunting.

The album continues with Harmony, this time featuring a strong Yes vibe, especially in the intro. When I wrote earlier that the vocalist sounds like Jeff Buckley some of the time, this is the perfect example of what I mean. Harmony moves slowly, but it nevertheless carries a lot of passion throughout its length.The Ungodly Snob is a strange piece, a preview of the quirkiness that will dominate the second part of Sleeping in Traffic. It opens with a bit of acoustic hoedown noises, before dropping into a moody guitar bit underscored by funky bass. Not an easy song to get a hold on quickly, it nevertheless is an energetic statement of creativity. The bass and the keyboards are the highlight of this piece. Year of the Knife moves in next, a song clearly influenced by Gentle Giant, especially their song Free Hand. It's a fast paced and catchy tune that ends in a long fading string and keyboards section. Without You is the third shorter and quieter song, after Afternoon Conversation and Dark Poet. This time, the music is just melancholic and sad. It then moves into the slow-burning Same Old Song. This final track has a lot of Genesis influence, though, again, it is in no way a rip-off of the Genesis sound. A piano solo in the middle gives this a very mature feel. It gradually picks up and gets moving faster, wrapping up the album in an epic sort of way.

What we have with this release is the first part of a very strong duo of albums from Beardfish. This is highly recommended to fans of classic prog, neo-prog, Pain of Salvation, or any sort of music that encourages creativity and complexity without sacrificing melody and raw entertainment value. Very much a band that deserves to be heard more.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This band seems to get better with each release. "The Sane Day" was quite good with some great ideas but being a double album I felt it wasn't consistantly good.This album is part one of a two part concept dealing with life. Part One deals with the daylight hours and Part Two with the night. I've already heard and reviewed "Sleeping In Traffic : Part Two" and feel it's their crowning achievement so far.This one is a solid 4 star album and they really deliver the goods even better than they did on previous double album.They thank QOPH, HAMSTER THEATER, UZVA and VIOLENT SILENCE in the liner notes.

"...On The Verge Of Sanity" is a short accordion intro before "Sunrise" comes barging in with some great organ runs. It settles with vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. What a fantastic singer this guy is. Kicks back in 3 1/2 minutes in with some ripping organ. Nice piano after 4 minutes before the organ returns 5 minutes in lighting it up. Passionate vocals before 7 minutes. What a way to start ! "Afternoon Conversation" features intricate guitar melodies and some thoughtful lyrics. "You Never Know" has this incredible "in your face" intro before it settles somewhat before a minute.The guitar lights it up beautifully and vocals follow. What a great song ! Nice bass after 5 minutes too. "Roulette" has this heavy beat as synths then organ join in. A calm with piano then vocals follows. Drums and bass after 2 1/2 minutes and a fuller sound a minute later. Great sound 5 1/2 minutes in, check out the organ ! Settles again before more organ after 8 minutes. Accordion comes in late.

"Dark Poet" sounds so good with those vocals accompanied with piano. "Harmony" is like heaven to start with. It ends up with this blues flavour (LED ZEPPELIN-like sound)) and I like the organ after 3 minutes, and the guitar that follows. A wall of sound after 7 minutes. Amazing tune. "The Ungodly Slob" is a fun song that seems to change styles about every minute. Very proggy in that way. "Year Of The Knife" has this nice guitar / bass intro as it then gets kind of funky. The soundscape that follows reminds me of Zappa. Nice organ in this one. Some great guitar 4 1/2 minutes in and strings after 6 minutes. "Without You" is a good tune with vocals and acoustic guitar. "Same Old Song" is relaxing to begin with. Piano and bass after 2 minutes. It kicks in at 5 minutes with passionate vocals.Incredible sound !

A very good release and one I can recommend heartily. It's well worth getting both Part One and Part Two.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Sleeping In Traffic: Part One was my introduction to Beardfish. And what an introduction it is. This is one of the best modern progressive rock bands I've heard in quite a while (despite the use of an accordion :) )

Their sound, to me is somewhat reminiscent, particularly in instrumental tone, especially the keyboards, of the harder edged Gentle Giant songs, with the playfulness of Phish mixed in. But that doesn't begin to descibe what you get on this album. This is a band with their own sound, and what a sound it is.

I love nearly every song on this album, with the exception of Without You, a song that feels somewhat out of place with the rest of the spectacular material.

4.5 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This third opus from this Swedish band shares a lot with its predecessor.

Some subtle and acoustic parts (''Afternoon Conversation'') close to the Canterbury scene, some darker and heavier ones (''And Never Know'') whose link with ''Crimson'' is not alien offer some pleasant combinations.

Their music remains diverse, and boredom is definitely not a feeling one gets while listening to this part from ''Sleeping In Traffic''. One of their most melodic track so far is the long and nice ''Roulette''. Some splendid keyboarding throughout (at times it reminds me of ''Supertramp'' though).

So, take this good trip and enjoy the tranquil ''Dark Poet'' and the ''Genesis'' oriented synths during the intro of ''Harmony''. It is only a pity that it turns out too much into a bluesy affair. Strange and disturbing.

The band reverts to their roots with the more complex ''Ungodly Slob''. A style in which they excel. Again, dear friend Banks is not far away during the intro of this instrumental piece. The good mood goes on with my fave from this offering: ''Year Of The Knife''. Intriguing, switching from one giant of the repertoire to another (GG in this case). The closing section is a bit loose to my taste though and I feel about the same during ''Same Old Song''.

Still, what I am missing is a real great number actually. Something to make me say ''wow''. Something that really moves me. But this feeling never comes. This is again a good album from the band but none so far ranged above the three star rating, and this one is not an exception either.

But three stars mean a good album, right?

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's strange to review their albums retrospectively, but why not, after all. And I also like night more than day. But, one must say that there's something magical about imagination of you, sitting in garden, letting late afternoon sun rays shine on you, as shown in Afternoon Conversation. And again (or more like for the first time, or for third time - disadvantage of not knowing previous), slow-fast paced songs changes in unique, Beardfish way. Probably epic-like, Roulette is catalyst of this album. Shows everything needed (even humor in the end), for example the most prominent thing, because of which I like Beardfish so much. Insane variety of songs, which were created in the mind of madman. Skilled madman though (take that as no offense please, one friend of my once said to me, that I'm like madman covering behind calm face. I think that eyes betrayed me), because this is something so unique, that not much music is able to hit this goal. Being melodic and pleasant to listen, but also non predictable & intriguing, challenging at once.

4(+) for some deaf moments, but after all, who cares when there's the rest.

EDIT: It's not so attractive as later two albums, not so interesting. It is, a lot to be exact, but not so much. Four better is enough.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars This album served as my introduction to Beardfish. It caught my interest for a variety of reasons - the quirky album art, the intriguing name, the fact that it was labelled as "Part 1", the funny name of the band, and the buzz I was hearing around them.

The buzz was well deserved, I must say. This Swedish outfit really knows what they are doing.

The first track did not really blow my mind when I first heard it. Okay, obviously, it's just a short instrumental that leads into the album. But I still have a strong appreciation for it, because it will appear again on their next album in what was, to me, an unexpected way - very nice foreshadowing. Helps pull the two albums together nicely.

It then moves on to Sunrise, which proves many things about Beardfish and basically acts as foreshadowing for what was to come in the album. What we have here are excellent lyrics ("Sunrise, I think these rays of light will kill me", etc.) to highly emotional vocals near the end ("She won't miss me when I'm gone!"), combined with excellent quiet and loud keys and guitars that give the song a lot of contrast and make it very pleasant to hear.

The album, for the most part, ranges from songs like that, that are pretty much all excellent, with very little music that could be considered filler. The album definitely has highlights, songs that work well on their own, but it plays quite well through as a single unit. The emotion on this album seems to me to be somewhat of an angry/melancholy feel, but with more underneath - and being able to convey that emotion is perhaps Beardfish's strongest feature.

Over time, almost every song on this album has got stuck in my head at least once. This may be Beardfish's most melodic album (of the ones that I have heard), for each song will catch your ear on the first listen through.

High points for me are Harmony and Roulette. Harmony comes across to me as a blues-twinged song that perfectly demonstrates what is so good about Beardfish on this album, from the quiet moments to the great instrumental music. Roullette tackles the theme of not believing in God, yet with a touch of humour that takes the edge off of the topic in a good way.

The album concludes with Same Old Song (Sunset), and it is more of the goodness that we have heard so far, including the great guitar, emotional lyrics, keyboard textures, and great singing. It is definitely a song that left me with a strong desire to hear part 2.

There are really no poor songs on this album, but overall, it is not quite at the masterpiece level. There is nothing here with quite the 'oomph' to push it over the edge.

Review by JLocke
4 stars Beardfish is the perfect example of modern prog successfully taking cues from the past classic artists, and making those ideas completely their own. Many other bands attempt this, but fail. Why does Beardfish succeed above others? It's all about heart. As I have said time and again, technical ability and knowledge of proper music theory will get you nowhere if you don't know how to write good music to begin with. All of that previously mentioned stuff . . . it's all tools. If you don't how to use those tools, knowing how they work isn't worth anything. The guys in Beardfish seem highly aware of this, since they, just like all the greats, know when to back off and allow the artistry and emotion shine. There is still plenty of complex, involved stuff here, but it never goes too far. It's just the right dose of everything needed for an enjoyable, well-balanced listening experience.

That's why ''Sleeping In Traffic: Part One'' is so special. It seems to do everything right musically, and never bored me. It was my first Beardfish experience, but will not by any means be my last. The higher points of the record include: 'Sunrise', 'Afternoon Conversation', 'Roulette', 'The Ungodly Slob', 'Year of the Knife' and 'Without You', but the whole thing is good. It's a concept album that carries over into a second volume, which I have not heard yet (I know, I know).The lyrics on the whole are pretty strong, and I quite like Rikard Sjöblom's voice. He has a comforting tone to his singing, can also be quite brash and abrasive when needed. That factors in when the music takes its darker turns. Now, for the most part, this record is light, classic-style Prog Rock, but sometimes the Beardfish boys get down with their bad selfs, and when that happens, they prove quite capable of crunching out the more modern, heavy tunes as well.

I want to stress this band's originality, despite their obvious influences. The music found within ''Sleeping In Traffic'' is still unique and fresh. It is reminiscent of past greats, but this is not by any means emulation or imitation. It's Beardfish, plain and simple.

I'm glad to see this group gaining the popularity they have, especially in more recent years. I've owned this particular album for nearly two years, myself, and I still love listening to it from beginning to end when I have a day to kill. It's absolutely worth adding to your collection, and should not be missed by any modern Prog enthusiast. If you're a more prudish ex-Prog fan, then you may find there are moments on this record that are too 'modern', but if you love music in progression, this one can't be passed up.

Happy Listening.

Review by CCVP
4 stars As good as part two

Beardfish is one relatively new act from Sweden who has gained massive international attention with their 2008 album, entitled Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two, but unfortunately the band was unable to gain any more momentum or steer in the momentum they already had gained with their album because their label, InsideOut, filed for bankruptcy together with SPV, InsideOut's owner, resulting in a brief appearance and subsequent disappearance from the progressive rock spotlight.

Despite that, Beardfish was able to gain some new fans, like myself, who acquired more albums beyond the famed second part of the Sleeping in Traffic. In the first part of Sleeping in Traffic, unlike the second part and the band's newest album so far (entitled Destined Solitaire), the band take themselves much more seriously, meaning that there are very few humorous parts (almost none, actually) and that their now characteristically funny music is absent, which, in my opinion, is one of the great qualities of the album, since most jokes in music albums tend to become unfunny or tiresome as time passes (which is the case in the song South of the Boarder from the Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two).

Another great quality of this album is that the band works their musical ideas extensively in each song, resulting in great music and very coherent, smooth and polished development and transition of musical ideas of each song. Half the songs clock under 6 minutes and that short song length is probably the single most helpful factor when it comes to making a cohere sound, because it avoids the addition of unnecessary or musical ideas, like happened in the second part of Sleeping in the Traffic, which has an abundance of amazing musical ideas that have a rather bumpy transition between themselves, specially in the 35 minute epic Sleeping in the Traffic.

Regarding the songs, musicianship and related features

In their 2007 studio album, Beardfish opted to go for a song oriented album, unlike both their past album (the double album The Sane Day) and their future album (Sleeping in the Traffic: Part Two). So, despite being a concept album, like most of their other albums, the music is not the tying knot of the concept. The songs are quite independent from each other and must be taken individually, no matter how smooth they flow.

The music here is one great example of retro prog with innovation. Clearly inspired by the progressive rock giants, Beardfish was able to, at the same time, deliver an album rooted on the 70's that does not sound derivative or emulative, and their style on this album play an important role on that matter, because their overall smooth approach and use of contemporary elements, together with well placed musical talent without unnecessary excesses, produces a very interesting and satisfying result.

Grade and final thoughts

Sleeping In Traffic: Part One is considered by many, myself included, as the turning point of Beardfish's career. The album is the witness of an overall increase in the band's writing skills and the first step towards a wider vision towards progressive rock; an important album of both retro prog and modern progressive rock. Therefore, 4 stars.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Sleeping In Traffic: Part One is only of slightly lesser quality that Part Two, but Beardfish still knew how to write some great prog. If Part Two had more of a dark feel, Part One is definitely much brighter themed. It might just be my imagination, but album seems to be lighter on the organ than the follow up, which is a definite plus in my mind. Some of Beardfish's strongest tracks are present on this album, but "Sunrise", "Afternoon Conversation", and "Roulette" have to be the definite stand out moments, all featuring fantastic Beardfish-unique sounding melodies. Beardfish has a sound all their own, and that is especially apparent on this album. They manage to have a strong progressive edge while utilizing catchy melodies, strong instrumentation, great musicianship, and always come off as sounding slightly playful.

Highly recommended.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the first and only Beardfish album I have yet heard. I was expecting these Swedes to sound more Gentle Giant-y based on what I read about them. This band does seem to fit into that 'retro prog' tag but unlike most retro bands these guys make good use of their influences. They mix those influences in such a way that nothing sounds directly derivative, but at the same time nothing sounds completely original either. The sound, playing and compositions are strong in general.

The album opens with some French style accordion playing, which leads into "Sunrise." This song reminds me of a few groups. After a bombastic opening settles into piano and vocals, with other instruments joining. Gets GG sounding around 3 minutes. Love the vocal effect before 5 minutes. Nice synth solo later. Backwards effects at the end. "Afternoon Conversation" is ballad-like with cool tom-toms. I like the disco hi-hat parts in "And Never Know" but generally think it's one of the weaker songs.

"Roulette" is the longest and best song. Love the electric piano sounds here. The synth work is kinda dated sounding but well played nonetheless. The main part of the song sounds like an electric piano based ballad from the 1970s. Like the circus-like organ and vocals playing in unison after 4 minutes. The 'chorus' part is fairly memorable. Great bass and drumming around the 9 minute mark. I don't like the spoken word section before the great accordion solo; sounds too preachy and forced. But maaan does that accordion solo make up for it!

"Dark Poet" is a nice little piano-based ballad but not much more. "Harmony" starts off very Canterbury sounding. After a minute goes into bluesy ballad territory with some jazzy elements. The singing is very 'soul'-ful. In the middle gets more GG sounding. Later goes back to the bluesy ballad part which seems to be influenced by Zeppelin. "The Ungodly Slob" starts with some kind of African music and then quickly switches to bluesy funk-rock (as opposed to funky blues-rock). Around a minute turns more GG sounding. Then almost Gong sounding. Nice synth playing. Love the organ dominated part starting before 3 minutes. 3 1/2 minutes gets more funky again with some almost African sounding melodies thrown in.

Later gets more dramatic and intense, almost Genesis sounding. Afterwards some good electric piano and drumming. Great instrumental. You can listen to "Year Of The Knife" here on PA. Great clavinet here. Almost sounds like a cross between GG and Zeppelin for most of the song. Nice string section near the end before jazzy drums and effects. "Without You" is similar to "Dark Poet" but acoustic guitar focused. Reminds me of another song but can't think of it.

"Same Old Song" begins very Steely Dan sounding. Gets more ballady and less Dan sounding. Love the 'chorus' part with the fuzz guitar and vocals in unison. Afterwards some nice drumming and bass playing along with a piano solo. Cool guitar solo in the middle which gets panned back and forth. Over halfway goes into more moody symphonic prog territory. The guitar playing reminds me of Floyd's "Echoes." Listening to this album was not a life-changing event for me, but it made me want to hear Sleeping In Traffic Part Two which I plan on doing in the near future. Great modern prog but nothing original or groundbreaking. I'll give this a 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ''The sane day'' was over and ''Sleeping in traffic pt.1'' was the new work in progress for Beardfish.No time lost, they entered the studio immediately after the second album and by the summer of 2006 most of the work was complete.It was the same time, when they received an invitation to play at the ProgDay festival in Chapel Hill, so they did and upon their return they added a last cut to the tracklist.Some labels show significant interest in singing the band, eventually Inside Out was the one to welcome them in its roster and the third work of the band was released in May 2007.

You should pretty much forget about a band trying to perform along the lines of SPOCK'S BEARD, the only remainings from their similarities with the Americans were some quirky but a bit sloppy Pop sensibilities.The brand new Beardfish is more an affair between ethereal vocal Psych/Art Rock and dramatic, complex Heavy Prog with punchy guitars and keyboards, now they were definitely closer to compatriots ANEKDOTEN than SPOCK'S BEARD due to the heavy bass lines and syncopated rhythms, but do not expect some dominant Mellotron or dark musicianship, Beardfish'es music always bursts a romantic attitude despite the attacking instrumental parts and the complicated textures.The softer parts remind me of the old Canterbury scene and the first few steps of CARAVAN and THE SOFT MACHINE to a lesser extent, warm electric piano, poppy tunes, omnipresent Hammond organ and a bit of synths with tempo variations and sweet vocal arrangements.The more powerful moments have something from the music of KING CRIMSON and GENTLE GIANT, impressive instrumental interactions, jazzy overtones, heavier moments and tricky twists and turns with both analog and modern keyboard lines.In case you wonder where the GENESIS and YES' aspirations have gone, I guess you can still find some snippets of light symphonic tunes and more melodious themes in the album, but mostly as an exception to the rule, which is now revisiting complex 70's Prog and Canterbury Psychedelia under a modern wagon.

Satisfying album from the start to the very end.After listening to it several times I found it incredibly well-composed, still a certain feel of a masterpiece work was missing.Anyway, a very eclectic progressive album, I can't see anyone not finding something to like in here.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
4 stars There are a lot of bands in the modern progressive rock world that carry the torch that bands like Yes or Gentle Giant carried several years ago. These bands take that torch and throw it into the goblet of the modern age, celebrating the style from yesteryear while also shaping it into their own limelight that embodies what Prog rock is all about, moving forward while celebrating what came before. Bands like The Flower Kings and Big Big Train are some of my favorites of this style of Prog with their clear appreciation of the genre and their refreshing sound that makes them so crisp and enjoyable. However one band seems to take these ideas and runs with them, yet I never really gotten fully into their work until now.

Beardfish was a Swedish band formed in the early 2000s. Unlike the bands I talked about before, they have a more focus on less of a symphonic type sound and more a focus on experimentation with sound, giving them a more interesting feel all around. Despite this I never really got an attachment to them up until this point, but yet I was always intrigued by their sound and their abilities, and I sorta wanted to hear them again after a few months, so I decided to start fresh with this album that I have heard was really good, and after hearing it, all the love for it makes all the more sense.

From what I have heard, this is a concept album about someone's day throughout 24 hours, with this first part being about the day. This album also seems to deal with depression with the lyrics, we'll get to those in a little bit when discussing the songs.

The album starts with a prelude called ?On The Verge Of Sanity. It's a small tune being played on the accordion, and I say it definitely segways into this album pretty well. While I particularly not fond of these small doses of music, having the album start with this tune ain't that bad, in fact it hooked me in more than anything.

But as the song ends the sun rises with Sunrise. The song starts up with this glorious sound of soulful organs, guitars, and drums. It really punches you with amazing sounds. It's an amazing hook to say the least. As it fades, we get a more acoustic part that builds more up to stronger progressions and stronger changes that hits it right on the nail. This is also where the lyrics start and while it's short and brief, it gives highlight to the main character of this album, a depressed man who seems to be in a failed relationship and who is so down in life that the sun is less good and more bad. It gives the album a gloomy feeling despite its more upbeat sorta sound.

The next song is Afternoon Conversation. It's a lot shorter and more minimal with instrumentation, with only a guitar and small beats of the drums. I honestly really like this break of momentum after the amazing spectral of sound, now sitting back a bit in favor of a more vocal song that gives more away with the story and the really great song writing. This seems like a flashback to when the man and his girlfriend were still in a good relationship, however they took things a bit too fast too where they both seemed to hold each other back, especially with the line "In a pot where I can't grow". It's a sad tune, but one bursting with a charm that is just nice to listen to. It is very much one of those songs you hear on a rainy day with some hot coco, at night, just chilling out and playing some games on the television.

We pick up speed a bit with And Never Know, going for a more proggy sound. This song definitely is a lot heavier, reminding me of songs on THRAK or The ConstruKction Of Light, but with its own flavors and spices, making it a more rewarding and exciting experience. This also showcases the creativity the band can pull off with their instrumentation, going from more proggy songs to minimal songs to another proggy tune on a dime without them feeling like a conundrum of consistency, especially how they flow into each other perfectly. I really like the added heaviness this song has, a lot bigger and intense that makes me feel the weight of the lyrics, with it showing the man now, drinking and smoking his sorrows away, retelling his relationship with his ex wife, probably to a friend or a bartender, and it seems he leaves the place he is in at the last few seconds of the song, meaning this man is outside now most likely.

Now we have Roulette, the longest song on the album being over 12 minutes. It goes back to a similar, less heavy Prog sound on Sunrise, but it progresses to new adventurous sounds, some darker, lighter, weirder, or just crazier. It's like a roulette wheel, you do not know what you'll get in this song, and it adds a beauty to this album that shouldn't be overlooked, though I feel like this is the one of the more weak song on this album, the singing is a little less than stellar unlike the last songs, and it feels a bit too slow with how it can change, not that it should be fast pace, but maybe it should've used it's length to more of its advantage with multiple sections than stuff that seems to take longer than it needs to. The lyrics are also not the best, the whole political war aspect kinda comes out of nowhere and I cannot see it fitting into the story all that well. My guess it's about the man trying to not follow any trend and remembering their past in the army, but other than that it feels a bit of a crux to try to reflect the whole album's themes of depression and breakup. I know I am racking on this song a bit, but I know this band could do better, I heard them do better so it feels a little off putting hearing them not be their best both lyrically, vocally, and pacing wise, but that's just what I think.

With that out of the way we got Dark Poet, similar in vain to Afternoon Conversation but on piano instead. This goes back to a feeling of the past that Afternoon Conversation but with a different type of past, this time being more in line with a relationship breaking apart where it's not fun anymore for both parties. The lyrics reflect this well with the lady just wanting to dance and fade away while the man just doesn't want to be there anymore cause it isn't happy, and this is honestly a very real and very beautiful song that feels very natural in it's themes and symbolism and I love this about the album. It feels so real and mature to where it feels like anyone has at least gone through something similar with what the man has gone through. A dead loved one, a long lost pet, a friend who you haven't seen in a long time, the feeling of loss whether of death or love is what everyone goes through in their lives, making the whole album feel a lot closer to the heart and soul than that of A Lamb Lies Down On Broadway or The Wall. Not bashing on those albums mind you, but I feel less likely to care for the characters or themes on those albums because they don't feel relatable to mine or anyone's experience with life, either that or they are too weird and zany to capture what life is like. This hits those marks perfectly and this song and the songs before, heck even a little bit of Roulette, has made me feel a sense of relatability with the man and his story, even if mine plays out differently.

After that, we got my favorite song on the album, Harmony. Super fun proggy stuff. I adore the organ, it gives me a ton of early Genesis vibes on stuff like Nursery Cryme and Foxtrot, while also giving us some nice slower and heavier stuff, giving us this nice feel of symphonic type melodies and hard rock sounds. It's super enjoyable and flows amazingly well to where every second doesn't feel wasted where the band reaches their full light and showcases their beauty. I love how the lyrics gives us some hope for the man with him seeing a woman who looks familiar to his girlfriend with similar eyes to the one he broke up with, but when he tries to go and meet her, he cannot see her, probably either due to traffic of people and cars or because that woman could've been a drunk and smoking filled illusion, which if it's the latter makes this story even more sad.

After all that we get The Ungodly Slob, an instrumental track. This is another weaker track like Roulette, however it's weaker in the fact that it feels extremely out of place in the narrative. With the lack of lyrics it makes it feel like an odd inclusion in this album that I felt like it was entirely unneeded. Not saying the song is bad though, the instrumentation is still great as ever, and it's not too long with it only being up to 6 minutes long, but yet it still feel out of touch with the album, like it was a song planned for another album but was added on to this album just because they wanted to use it. To be honest, this probably should've stayed on the cutting room floor.

With that out of the way, Year Of The Knife lurks its head in. This song has a very cool flow to it, and it reminds me of a ton of Gentle Giant songs, especially that sorta twang the beginning has with the guitars and organs. It gives it a sorta edgy and medieval flair to it that gives it its own strong sense of wonder and intensity and I love it so much, it makes me feel like discovering my love for those old bands so much more. The lyrics are also reflective of that familiar sound with the man walking through the town and remembering a time in his childhood where he went out at night and was attacked by a knifed maniac named Big Blade Bill, which gives the man a more thorough background as this man who has gone through so much that he drinks to forget, yet seems to always remember throughout his day.

And now we reached Without You, another acoustic track of the man talking about his ex wife and how sorry he is for not taking things slowly and rushing too much to where now that everything is quieter, it's a lot lonelier and much more depressing. I really like this a ton, though it feels a bit repetitive at this point to where I kinda wanna know more about the inner struggles of the man than the struggles he had with his love life. Still a good song but definitely a bit stale.

But then we get Same Old Song, also known as Sunset. I really think this is the best closing this album could have, giving a sense that this isn't closure, but rather an end of the day with a slower, and stronger sound that takes its time without such a long length of music, plus the music feels like it is played through a radio, making it have this echo like sound, almost like the man is hearing this tune on the radio and singing to it, making up his own lyrics along. The lyrics give closure to the man's journey with him now in the middle of the night, fully lamenting his ex wife and how he feels so cold and desolated to where he thinks that if he disappears his old lover would not care in the slightest. However with this being part 1, this doesn't mean the man's journey is over and maybe the night might allow him to try and change his path to a better direction without making everyday more lonely and bitter with the taste of cigarettes and bottles of beer, making this a grand spectacle of a song, closing out the first half of this man's fruitful day.

So if you haven't guessed it, I love this album. Sure it has it's hiccups, a bit too many to make me feel like this album is absolutely perfect and an essential listening experience, but it gives a human and honest experience that many concept albums doesn't seem to give, letting the listener sympathize the main character of he album much more, and the fact this is part 1 and it's already an amazing listen makes me super excited to check out what part 2 might have in store. I fully recommend checking it out cause it is a wonderful experience from one song to the next.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This album is the first Beardfish album I listened to, and it was really an euphoric listening experience. The musical style is very rich and diverse, perhaps like an alternative rock in the hard rock scene (pretty much because of both style of riffs and sound of guitars) , but with the strong ... (read more)

Report this review (#2631507) | Posted by Mark-P | Saturday, November 6, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What happiness! Never rock band will have deserved so much its qualification of progressive. Because make no mistake, Beardfish is above all rock. And if it only took one track to prove it, "Harmony" would suffice. From the first notes, romanticism springs from Rikard Sjöblom's accordion, and be ... (read more)

Report this review (#2488331) | Posted by Muskrat | Monday, December 28, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A high quality album by Beardfish, more focused than their second effort and full of creativity. The guitar playing is not virtuoso but creative and set of keyboard sounds is really huge. Drumming is consistent although perhaps instrumentally the weakest element of the sound. The voice is equall ... (read more)

Report this review (#2271496) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, October 20, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I meant to make review of Sleeping in Traffic Prt 2 to encompass the entire story, but since Part 1 is nominally a separate entry... What I like about Beardfish is they don't just copy the usual British suspects - Genesis, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, - but base their music also on more traditiona ... (read more)

Report this review (#1072700) | Posted by Progrussia | Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Shout out loud dark poet, full of sight.make your words live on and on and on." With the first installment of Sleeping in Traffic , Beardfish were able to reach a crucial stage of artistic maturation: an important step in the ongoing process of becoming a successful, and hopefully popular ... (read more)

Report this review (#176415) | Posted by jimmy_row | Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm SO excited about young bands that make GREAT music, no matter what the type. And with Beardfish, trying to figure out the type is one of things you should not worry about. Does it compare favorably (powerfully) with Zappa? Yes. these guys have the humor and the instrumental athleticism ... (read more)

Report this review (#162315) | Posted by mpomy | Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My favourite swedish band continues their path to make great progressive rock. Part one of sleeping in traffic is a little hard to get into but after about the third listening you're hooked in the Beardfish progressive landscape. Lots of great melodies, hooks and chops along with their unique quir ... (read more)

Report this review (#147526) | Posted by Andis | Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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