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Beardfish - 'Destined Solitaire' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/12/1f/8b/211_BeardfishDestinedSolitaire_1268838484.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     March 17, 2010    
 
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Indulgent prog rocker bands new album.

 

Long term readers of Fireworks Magazine will know that my taste in Rock music is pretty broad and I engage with most genres of our beloved style of music, but if I were forced to choose just one then it would have to be Prog that would get the nod. That said, despite my love of Prog there are times when even I find it too difficult to understand when bands elect to overindulge. That might sound a contradiction with Prog being indulgent in so many ways, but believe me it can get too much. I’m afraid that Beardfish are just such a band. They are without a doubt talented and incredibly clever but they are certainly guilty of being too clever too often.

They are a young band (all being under 30) but clearly owe their sound to 70’s Prog in the form of Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson and Frank Zappa plus more recent exponents such Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings, but fall short in comparison to these illustrious outfits by failing to recognise when to let a strong theme develop rather than suddenly going off at a tangent. It’s as if they have attention deficit disorder as they seem intent on cramming every idea into every song, which is great shame because they have plenty of good ideas but they choose to spoil these with over-complication.

A prime example would be the 15-minute ‘Until You Comply Including Entropy’ which features some excellent themes that deserve to be expanded upon rather than being cut short for another entirely disparate stanza. There are many times on this album where I found myself smiling at some truly delightful retro Hammond Organ refrains only to have them truncated by a sudden change in direction.

When they get it right they show an uncanny knack for composition, performance and melody such as the closing track, ‘The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of’, which has the feel and structure of a Neal Morse / Spock’s Beard track. The 10 minutes slips by so quickly thanks to the strong melodies and delightful keyboard phrasing. If only they could bring this restraint to all their tracks. This one will undoubtedly stay on my iPod, but I’m not too sure about any of the other tracks being so lucky.

I’ve seen these boys live and been impressed but they need to rein themselves in enough to increase their appeal. They make the likes of Dream Theater seem straightforward by comparisons (DT drummer, Mike Portnoy, is a big fan).

One for the very broadminded.

Gary Marshall

 

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