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Beardfish - Destined Solitaire CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 447 ratings

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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 Sj÷blom 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.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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