Modern progressive rock is far different from the acts of the genre’s infancy. There is such a range of influences now that many bands hardly come off sounding like the ones that influenced generations after them. However, one band, Beardfish, has been churning out old school progressive rock since the beginning of the new millennium, and it sounds every bit as vintage as it can get. Their bass fueled, old school keyboard sounding, slight bluesy guitar playing style has been one that has captivated countless fans since their inception, with no missteps in their history. Their last record was an experimental one, trying out a new guitar tuning and some heavier tunes, and remains a favorite of many fans. However, we mostly remember the band for songs such as ‘Sleeping in Traffic’ and ‘And The Stone Said “If I Could Speak”‘, which still retain that 70s influence and just makes us smile when we listen. The band’s latest outing does just that, while still retaining some of the heaviness from their last album, to create an overall fulfilling experience while listening, and will keep you humming long after the record has stopped playing.
The album takes a lighter path when compared to their previous album The Void, and it’s a nice path to take. The band are really known for their upbeat rhythms and awesome, happy bass lines, so it was nice to hear the band return to form, in a sense. Another signature aspect that remains intact, but also got a little better, are the vocals. The vocals and harmonies on this record are the best they have been in years, and are definitely nostalgic in nature. It seems as though the band just wanted to make a record for fun, and you can tell they likely were smiling throughout the entire recording process. The album is not a concept album like some of their previous efforts, but still retains a central theme that in a sense could be considered a concept.
Also, the band put out one of their heaviest songs in ‘Daughter’, which is five and a half minutes of awesomely heavy prog. The middle section of the song has some of the best riffs the band could ever think of. The entire album is chock full of great guitar and bass parts, and there’s no shortage of inspiration. There’s also no filler, which is reassuring since in today’s modern prog scene every album seems to have a filler track just place in for no reason whatsoever. The tones on this album are also the most honest the band has ever put to tape, and even the slightly lower mastering volume harkens back to the 1970s, in a time where we didn’t have such advanced recording equipment and such experienced producers readily available.
The real issue with this release, however, is that for new fans, it will not really stick out. The album is chock full of memorable harmonies and choruses, but they become less memorable when compared to previous works. The band has not necessarily regressed in this sense, however; the album is still plenty memorable to those familiar with the band. New fans, however, will have trouble discerning this from anything else in the 1970s, and sometimes the band wears their influences on their sleeves a little too much.
Overall, prog rock fans will love this record. It’s not necessarily a perfect record, but it’s a representation of how prog rock is done the right way. While there are some noticeable missteps, overall the album is a really fun listen, and you’d be hard pressed to find an album this fun anywhere else.
Beardfish – +4626-Comfortzone gets…