Reviews on
BEARDFISH "The Sane day"

"This is great music! This is what progressive rock should sound like today.
Beardfish has done the thing I have been waiting for a long time. Progressive
rock instead of "retrogressive prog-rock".

In every type of music there are certain basic elements that one can learn very easily.
This applies also to prog. Unfortunately. Many bands are too comfortable after they have
reached a certain level of playing and composing. And when there are enough loyal followers,
one can easily start producing albums one after another. But what actually happens is that
one ends up repeating the same old clichés. And if you have made indifferent music, there
are always the modern recording techniques, which allow mending the compositional flaws.

Well, Beardfish is something different. Surely you can hear influences of Zappa, GG and Yes,
some to mention, but the overall feeling of the music is still very Beardfishish, so to speak.
And what matters is that this music is made not only with brains but also with a big heart.

Beardfish is the modern answer to Spocks Beard & Flower Kings. All things must pass. The future is here. Hopefully."

"A lot of people out there don't seem to get my particular brand of mental illness, something that my particular brand of psychosis lays firmly at their door. But on the rare days that my brain patterns flit into something approaching normality, then this is fairly representative of the noises I hear in my head.

Now, I'm no expert on the world of Swedish prog, but this appears to be a reissue of an album that Beardfish put out themselves a couple of years ago. So, a big thanks to Progress Records for aiming it my way. You see, this is truly progressive rock in all its finest double album glory.

I can't even pretend to imagine what was going through the heads of the ludicrously talented Beardfish when they were laying down the likes of 'The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer', but I like to delude myself into thinking it went along the lines of "how many piranhas would it take to eat all the cheese out of the Sugababes, past and present members".

For sure, they reach back into the seventies netherworld of prog, but they have such a forward looking take on it, that the little nods towards Camel and Gentle Giant are rather endearing, especially when they crush it under the boot of an almighty riff. Which happens more than you would think across the nineteen delicious songs spread over the two discs.

It's just so gosh darned good, that it's pretty much ruined me for much else since first hearing the joys of 'Mystique Of The Beauty Queen' and 'The Reason Of Constructing And/Or Building A Pyramid'. Ooh, and I nearly forget, opening track 'A Love Story' is just sooo Thijs van Leer! Gits. How dare they be this good. Now that I think about it, this is the kind of record that makes me crawl into a hole, desolate at the futility of my own existence.

But if you can stomach your own shortcomings, then this is a CD you will treasure."
Rating: 4 stars

"I'm amazed, i'm satisfied and utterly impressed by these fine musicians!
This is a superb double masterpiece!!"
Rating: 5 of 6 planets

"It doesn't take you very long in order to fall in love with both the recording and band.
What Beardfish delivers here is simply a proglover's orgasm fuelled by tons of interesting hooks and seventies influences. In fact what you hear is a concoction of elements too numerous to mention. The synth solo in "A Love Story" sounds like an unreleased recording by the late Peter Bardens whilst the electric piano refers to the Canterbury scene and the constant supply of Hammond organ takes you back to the end of the sixties beginning of the seventies. Also soundwise this production is a sheer delight, wanting you to constantly push the repeat button. It's not because I place the main influences dating back to the heydays of the progressive genre that this release sounds dated because it doesn't. The Sane Day is very much an album that merits its place in the current stream of qualitative rock releases. When you listen to this album you can't help but think about a lot of major bands who all leave their mark. Whether it is the authentic prog of King Crimson, Gentle Giant or Jethro Tull; the folky world of Bo Hansson; the jazzy inclinations of Mats & Morgan, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie; the zany relics of Frank Zappa; the more pop oriented genius of The Beatles, The Doors or Queen; the more recent sounds of Radiohead or Soundgarden or the more psychedelic material from Pretty Things or Made in Sweden, Beardfish has enough musical knowledge to use their influences like a chef uses a zillion different spices to create his own recipe crowning him to become masterchef. If you serve Beardfish then for sure you will be masterchef, too!

"Expect the unexpected" is what goes through my mind as the perfect description for this album.
"The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer" is one of my favourites, not only because of the great guitar riffs
but also because from a vocal point of view it gets so damn close to ACT, another fantastic Swedish … act.
Then again the Beardfish attitude often camps in the backgarden of Liquid Scarlet, too, as both bands
deliver infectious tunes. Also Paatos and Anekdoten spring to mind. Throughout this release Beardfish
remains loyal to the attitude that they don't exclude anything as long as it fits the atmosphere they want to recreate. So when you put all of the elements together it sounds like a walk through the encyclopediaof "better rock music" whether it's symphonic rock, classic rock, jazzrock, you name it it's there. The musicians each master their respective instruments perfectly creating very infectious music. Another plus is the fact that out of the eighteen tracks on offer here, no less than seven are instrumental. As these pieces are scattered all over this album it results in a pleasant balance which makes listening to the entire input in one go fairly easy.

The second disc starts in a very dramatic way with the laidback titletrack which mainly features electric piano. The same instrument also plays an important role in the uptempo "Return To Mudhill," which also sports some great sounding synths, delivering images of Camel, Happy the Man and Hatfield and the North with Focus stepping in once the organ starts to roar. From a vocal point of view Beardfish does approach singing like pure acrobatics. Just listen to "Mystique Of The Beauty Queen" for a prime example, with the added wailing guitar slotted in as a bonus. Needless to say this song gets ever so close to genuine Zappa material. With "The Reason Of ConstructingAnd/Or Building A Pyramid," Beardfish puts all of its technical skills into one composition, delivering a superb finale to this incredible output. I have listened to this double album several times and never have found one single dull moment. I love what I hear as Beardfish tackles all kinds of atmospheres. The quality of the compositions, arrangements as well as the actual performance, everything is top notch and can easily compete with the bigger names in the genre. Maybe like the Stiff tour in the seventies, the current "new wave" of Swedish prog should organize a joint tour. This Beardfish together with the likes of Moon Safari, Liquid Scarlet, ACT and Paatos could make a nice package. Now put those heads together and start planning."

"Their progressive rock is influenced as much by King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Camel, Genesis, Soft Machine as by Zappa, Beatles and Led Zeppelin"
Rating: 8,5 (of 10)

"A love story starts off like a classic Focus song. The organ invoques the sound of the seventies.
Other elements to be recognized are the Krautrock style of singing but also a bit of Zappa like atmosphere. Very driven vocals!
In “The Sun Is the Devil” it seems as if Frank Zappa himself has risen again. The way of singing,
the voice and the composition are all so recognizable. A short but wonderful song.
Also in “Mudhill” the playful element is there. Nice melody, but hard to put into a category. Still I’m
quite shure that beardfish contains at least a few Zappa fans. They experiment with different kinds
of noises in this song and just when you think, yes, this is Zappa, the vocals make you think of Steely Dan. Very confusing to say the least.
The “Gooberville Ballroom Dancer” is a rocking seventies song with again a lot of variety in both music,
rhythm, vocals (sung and spoken) that makes me think a bit of Zappa’s “Dancing Fool” merged with some Lenny Kravitz. I certainly shouldn’t forget to mention the great guitar solo on this track.
“Igloo on two” is a great instrumental, playfully and skilfully performed. It’s great, it’s fascinating and very complex with great guitar and synthesizer solos.
“Tall Tales” starts off with a mixture of jazz and funk and blends into a mixture of different styles.
A great song!
“The Summit” contains even some Led Zeppelin elements! The power of Beardfish is that they succeed into blending all these different styles into one complex unity that never gets boring. On the contrary, it stays interesting until the very end. And as I said: the relation with Frank Zappa is unmistakable, so if you have ever liked the music of this genius, you should try this out!
CD 2. The opening track is a nice bit of quiet, jazzy piano play, and other instruments join in in the end.
“Blue Moon” sounds much more modern than the tracks on cd 1. Some elements of the British pop industry can be recognized (Blurr, Six Pence None the Richer, Suede). “Do You Remember Fun Mom” is a short but impressive instrumental in symphonic rock style and “Return to Mudhill” is an instrumental reprise of the song on cd 1 with some Deep Purple influence this time. “Waiting Room” returns to the atmosphere of cd 1 with jazzy music and Zappa like vocals. The psychedelic guitar solo on “Mystique of the Beauty Queen” (again with this very typical Zappa vocals) is more than worth while mentioning. Also “Now” sounds a bit more modern: it’s a nice and gentle song with a great organ solo.
On the whole I think it might have been better to publish just one cd, combining the strongest parts of both discs. The complexity of the music makes it less obvious to listen to the two cd’s one after the other."
Rating: 8/10

"Beardfish is warmly recommended to the fans of progressive rock who like Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis and The Who from their "Tommy period". The complex side of certain passages drawing towards jazz-rock can also remind of King Crimson and certain more progressive melodies point out Camel during the Peter Bardens era."
Rating: 4/5