Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Beautiful Bedlam - Beautiful Bedlam CD (album) cover


Beautiful Bedlam


Heavy Prog

3.92 | 64 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars This is the debut album by Melbourne-based prog band Beautiful Bedlam and was released last year. While Melbourne is a hotbed of music, as well as being one of my favourite cities, I am not aware of too many prog bands hailing from there apart from of course the mighty Aragon. Formed by Luke Ancell (guitars) and his brother Scott (drums, programming, backing vocals) who both used to be in A Lonely Crowd, along with Ross Taylor (keyboards, vocals) and James Van Strien (bass, vocals) this appears to be a mix between a band and a project as they also have six guest lead vocalists, and they mix up many different styles which has resulted in an album which for me is fractured and not as cohesive as many others seem to feel.

Opening track "Flaking Paint" is an absolute killer, dynamic, driving and in your face, bringing in huge elements of XTC with a jagged approach and plenty of powering guitars and riffs. It moves, changes, and is a wonderful introduction and at this point I was really excited about what was to come. "Breather" is another very solid number, plenty of guitars and with a female singer totally changing the approach from the first, but I could see a connection and I was sure we were on for a winner. Then came "Life, Death & Cheers (+ Slow Creepin')" and I was just staring at the speakers wondering what was going on? Rick Astley meets slow jazz perhaps? It just sounds totally out of keeping with what had gone before, and while I can see a link between that and the following song, by now my opinions on the album were changing somewhat, and the rest of the album continued in a manner which reinforced this.

Beautiful Bedlam are a band packed with ideas, so much so that they move in and out of different genres, and for me there is just too much on this album which I would not listen to for pleasure. It is not that the songs or performances are poor, just they are sitting within styles which I do not enjoy. But when they are good, they are excellent as there is material here which makes me sit up and pay close attention. Their use of xylophone sounds is very good indeed, and they are all wonderful musicians, although I must admit I would have preferred if they had tuned the drums somewhat differently as the sound is quite plastic throughout. There are plenty of reviewers who are giving this maximum marks, and I completely understand why that is the case, but this is not for me.

kev rowland | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this BEAUTIFUL BEDLAM review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.