Beardfish – Destined Solitaire

Sweden is one of the premier suppliers when it comes to quality guitar music. This is also the case with progressive rock and metal. Bands like Evergrey, Pain Of Salvation, Opeth and The Flower Kings have almost become household names. The Swedes from Beardfish may not have that kind of fame, they’re every bit as good as the aforementioned acts. The one thing that sets Rikard Sjökblom and Co apart is their collective admiration for vintage progressive rock from the seventies.

King Crimson, Yes, Camel and Genesis, just some random names that come to mind when you’re listening to Destined Solitaire. The abundant presence of several types of vintage organs and synthesisers, the analog sound and Rik Sjökblom’s warm vocals (hello Edward Reekers!) echoes the band’s love for seventies progressive rock. That’s actually an understatement, especially when you listen to Awaken The Sleeping, Until You Comply, Including Entropy and When The Rain Comes In.

It’s the band’s genuine love and sheer joy of playing this kind of music that makes Destined Solitaire such a memorable album. There are some darker overtones here and there, but generally speaking the overall mood is pretty light-hearted. Another striking feature are Beardfish’s innate ability to write memorable compositions and their Frank Zappa inspired humour and ditto frolics. In Real Life There’s No Algebra, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of and the aforementioned Until You Comply, Including Entropy are brilliant examples of this.

Destined Solitaire thrives on its warm and analog sound, which really strengthens the overall seventies atmosphere and the jazzy swing of this album.

Okay, Beardfish may not be the most original band around and at times they’re trying so hard to duplicate that vintage sound it tends to get under my skin. However, I have to admit that few do it better than Beardfish and that Destined Solitaire is a thoroughly enjoyable effort. Excellent album!

Written by Raymond Westland


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