Beardfish are a prolific progressive rock band. They consist of Richard Sjoblom on vocals and keyboards, David Zackrisson on guitars, Robert Hansen on bass and Magnus Ostgren on drums.
+4626 Comfort Zone is their 8th album in twelve years and all of them have been very enjoyable. This one is no exception. Each of their previous albums offered something new and different for the listener. This time the album is mixed by a different band member. The album has been mixed by Zackrisson, which is something of a departure. Usually it's Sjöblom who handles this crucial area.
Richard explained; “I had a lot going on at the time, so asked David if he'd like to take on the task. And he was really keen to do the mix. He's educated in this sort of thing, so knew exactly what he was doing. Yes, he did do it differently to me, but that's the beauty of the way it's come out. It doesn't sound like anything we've done before, and David has to take a lot of the credit for this.”
The album starts with some noise and sound effects and some talking before leading into Hold On, an up tempo popish tune. Comfort Zone has some nice guitar work on top of a Mellotron background and is the first outstanding track of many on this album. Can You See Me Now has a 1967 Beatles influence while King is a heavier track that wouldn't be out of place on an early Black Sabbath album. The One Inside Part Two is pretty tune underpinned by acoustic guitar but has a sinister feel to it. Daughter Whore is an all out rocker that brings Bigelf to mind. We then come to the highlight of the album. If We Must Be Apart is fifteen minutes of twists and turns that on the outside looks like a love story but underneath is a lot more than that. Ode To The Rock 'N' Roller is a song about the plight of many musicians these days who can only make a living playing in tribute bands rather than writing and recording their own music. The album closes with The One Inside Part 3 and you realise you have gone full circle through a very entertaining, diverse and thought provoking piece of music. This could be the album that gives Beardfish their next push up the prog ladder; a push that is very well deserved.
****+ Dave Smith
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