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Beardfish: +4626COMFORTZONE

It's not the ability but the willingness of Beardfish to mould and remould their sound from album to album that sets them apart from the plethora of bands trying to "Progress" the Progressive music scene. +4626COMFORTZONE isn't an album rammed to the gunnels with percussive flurries, finger stretching fret exercises or galloping thirty minute "epics". Instead Beardfish choose to be Progressive through progression, +4626... being markedly different from 2012's The Void, which was equally far removed from Mammoth from the year before. This is a band looking forward while firmly encouraging us all to embrace the past of both their own work and that of many other artists.

The idea behind the album stems from this Swedish act's desire to reflect the "comfort zone" most people not only experience every day but which they actively embrace. Whether that's a new phenomena, or an ever present human condition, Beardfish clearly don't care for it. However it's certainly inspired a set of songs that drive this band forward while having a long gaze into the past. You can hear classic Prog influences, with Yes especially being evoked from time to time and yet many of the melodies seem to stretch further back in both vibe and sound. If Harry Nilsson had stayed with us and moved into Prog, I could imagine him making some of the sounds on this album. However marry that to a cutting edge production and the results become startlingly captivating; bright and sharp yet cosy and warm, cajoling and welcoming, yet in your face and snarling. Riffs tumble forth on occasion, "King" strutting and proud, even when the lyrics are bleak and disparaging. "Daughter/Whore" decides to go the whole hog, Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades" plucked from the deck in the introduction, a more darting guitar riff and tumble of drums punctuating the rest of the song as singer Rikard Sjoblom shares his disgust at the archaic attitude towards women so many institutions seem to hold. However for the most it is a far more considered approach which pays the biggest dividends and drives this band forward on accessible, yet ever evolving themes and melodies, even when the execution itself is far from simple and always with an eye on technical precision. Mood and vibe as important as prowess and flair, yet Beardfish make room for them all and more.

The three part "The One Inside" sections soon become favourites, identical motifs and melodies presented in different ways to offer up clever stop off points and allow an uncompromising album to feel familiar and friendly at an earlier juncture than might normally be expected. "Ode To The Rock n' Roller" tells the tale of a talented musician held captive in a succession of ever repeating cover songs and disgruntled audiences. For someone who loves to engage new music and live shows, it is a theme I connect with immediately and one which seems to blight the ever backward looking mainstream.

+4626COMFORTZONE is an album which won't jump all over you and demand your attention and neither will it attack you with vim and verve. However once you've placed this disc safely back in its case, you will find that much of it lives long in the mind and welcomes you back like an old friend. Ultimately I'd suggest this is Beardfish at their mighty best, and that is mighty.

Track Listing
1. The One Inside Part 1 Noise In The Background
2. Hold On
3. Comfort Zone
4. Can You See Me Now
5. King
6. The One Inside Part 2 My Companion Throughout Life
7. Daughter Whore
8. Ode To The Rock 'N' Roller
9. If We Must Be Apart (A Love Story Continued)
10. The One Inside Part 3 Relief

Added: February 1st 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Beardfish online
Hits: 2505
Language: english

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