BEARDFISH - Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two

Beardfish - Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two

8 songs
74:24 minutes
***** ***


Back in the early Seventies, it was not uncommon for a rock band to release up to two albums a year, and there was hardly ever a drop in quality. Nowadays, it is considered chic to take as much time as possible and let your fans wait forever. Except in Sweden, where bands are still able to come back every year with new albums. Beardfish self-released their first two albums. The debut was in Swedish language and hardly noticed. The follow-up The Sane Day (2006) was immediately a massive two hour double album. Finally signed by a label, they came forth last year with the first part of Sleeping In Traffic, a refreshing prog album that contained more or less long songs that amounted to something more than an hour. As if that wasn’t enough, they are back now with the second part that uses the entire running time of the CD and emphasises longer song structures. Bookended by two short instrumentals, the album begins with five regular song that are all between six and nine minutes. Beardfish play old-school progressive rock which doesn’t make the mistake to sound nostalgic. Of course they have fun invoking legends like Genesis and Gentle Giant, but they quote also more obscure artists like Frank Zappa, which is most noticeably on the humorous South Of The Border. It’s a fact that Scandinavian prog bands were never against having a laugh. In the Seventies this was practiced by Samla Mammas Manna and Wigwam (I concede though that Finland is not a part of Scandinavia). Nowadays this tradition is continued in one way or another by Pain Of Salvation, Ritual and Beardfish.

Those five songs are taken together as long as the title track Sleeping In Traffic with its nearly thirty-six minutes, a classical prog epic in the truest sense of the word. In a rollercoaster ride through all the facets of prog music, the listener is faced with all kinds of unexpected turns and variations, with even some disco and waltz elements towards the end.

Stylistically, there are few band on a par with Beardfish these days. What they still lack though is the gravity of the ancients. Their songs are good, catchy but don’t yet have the hooks that prevent the melodies to leave your head. You’ll be looking in vain for a Plague Of Lighthouse-Keepers or a Supper’s Ready, but that doesn’t mean that Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two is a weak album. Beardfish have refined the art of enveloping their roots into a contemporary sound that should appease prog fans from all factions.

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