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Beardfish - Destined Solitaire CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.97 | 484 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

TheGazzardian | 5/5 |


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