(All Album Reviews by Sean)
What can I say to persuade you to try this CD? I got it last week and have played it about 20 times so far. I guess you could say I like it...
Beardfish's sound is a bit hard to pin down. It's like they have their influences mixed up enough they created a hybrid that is pretty much their own. This CD was a fun and refreshing one to have roll across my desk. It stood out amongst the majority of CDs we receive here on a weekly basis for review.
It goes some cool places that seem familar, yet new. I won't deny hearing a whiff of Zappa or Gentle Giant influence in the mix, even a little RATM meets Soundgarden. But they quickly move on to other terrain before you know it. Each song is a little journey through many different moods and textures.
There's a few reasons this CD clicks with me. It was catchy and fairly compelling from the get go. First thing I noticed is the production is really good. The sounds they use are captured very well and of the vintage palette. I'd like to know what organ they used on this, it is totally ballsy. Best I have heard on a new prog release in awhile. Every instrument has a bitchin' tone. Well done guys! This makes such a difference. Makes for some delicious listening too....
The arrangements unfold in an unpredictable way, but it's not done to just be clever and not to the extreme either. It all seems very natural and out of it came some really memorable songs. Though songs is almost an understatement for a few of these, they are more like pieces or works, including one piece that lasts about 30 minutes and has few repeating sections. Lots of great melodies too.
"Sleeping In Traffic Pt 2" is accessible and really melodic, yet not your typical prog fare. I think they are edgy and harmonically dense enough for the Zappa meets avant crowd, yet have a directness and knack for melody that would appeal to fans of "sweeter", symph based prog too. Few groups straddle that fence this well. I gotta give props on the vocals too. Vocalist Rikard Sjöblom has many sides to his delivery. He sorta reminds me of Mike Patton in that regard. Baritone, falsetto and all points in between. A man of many voices.
Enough of this prog talk though.... These guys would surely appeal to more than just readers here or fans of this genre. I hope Beardfish can find their way back to the States sometime soon. This new CD would be great to hear and see live.