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




Eclectic Prog

4.18 | 706 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Awaken the sleeping!

A very different band by every sense of the word, Beardfish has always excelled with the strange yet not so strange. Quirky yet serious, this eclectic band is definitely one to watch with this release. The second part of their two part Sleeping In Traffic saga is a beast which demands attention. Rockish riffs mix with smooth keyboards, killer bass lines, a beating rhythm and excellent vocals to make something great. The best way to describe the band would be to take their two most talked about influences, (Frank Zappa like songwriting with a touch of King Crimson,) put them in a blender, hit purée, and watch what happens.

The concept over the two albums is this - 24 hours in a person's day. What does s/he see, do, and have happen to them. The second part is the night, as evident by the ambient jangling of the opening intro As The Sun Sets. The night-time section may be expected to make the music more ''dark'', but while it does at parts, the music on the album is mostly upbeat and fun.

Something the band really excels at is just that - keeping the music fun. As evident in a song like South Of The Border, these guys have a sense of humor that they're able to work in well with their tunes as is so rare in music these days with so many artists taking themselves very seriously. The previously mentioned song also has a wonderful riff and hard rock feel that propels it through the story like a hot knife through butter until it reaches its ironic breakdown which is (in a good way) laugh out loud funny. But of course, what better way to follow up a song like this but with a stellar, and quirky, instrumental such as the wonderful Cashflow.

Another excellent standout on the album is the rhythmic The Hunter, its instrumental opening couple of minutes able to induce head bobbing in even the most critical ear. Backed by some floating guitars and synths the song presses finally into the vocals, which only make the song better with its catchy, almost sing along chorus and wonderful melodies.

Along the ''Darker'' side of things are a couple of songs. The opener Into The Night is still upbeat but is able to bring in the feeling of night with its lyrics and breakdowns. The Downward Spiral/Chimay is likely the darkest song on the album however, and also the slowest. Creepy synths and guitars open up the song while the voice comes in to further that feeling. In the end, it's a great track that ends with a couple minutes of great instrumentalism.

The track that most prog heads will be waiting for, however, is the 35+ minute epic that the two albums were named after, Sleeping In Traffic. Starting and finishing with the same great riff this one is a trip of massive proportions. Seemingly overlong the first couple times through, this one eventually catches on with its several excellent segments, and again, quirk. Truly a fun song as Beardfish would be expected to do, the song features a lot of different places and dream sequences as well as references that can keep just about anyone interested the whole way through. Shifting from strait up rock to toned down descriptor sections and winding instrumentals, this one certainly has been planned well by the band.

Then it ends as it began, the sun comes back up with Sunrise Again reprising the intro and taking the album to its end.

While it's definitely going to take a couple of listens to get used to the title track, this one is an excellent album which is worth repeated listens and any prog fan's time. 4 stars! It's hard to come up with many complaints with this one, other than the title track almost requires that one take time out of their day to hear it. Still a wonderful album which is recommended to all!

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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