Beardfish
Destined Solitaire


4.0
excellent

Review

by tef USER (16 Reviews)
September 27th, 2013 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A colourful prog rock gem that needs some time before revealing all its beauty.

Since acquiring “The Void” last year and regarding it as the best album of 2012, I’m working my way back in the catalogue of Swedish prog-rockers Beardfish. I’m pleasantly surprised because after finding out that “Mammoth” (2011) is as good as “The Void”, now it seems that “Destined Soliltaire” is again a great album.

The album opener “Awaken The Sleeping” is a great instrumental track. The title hints to their previous two albums (“Sleeping In Traffic parts I and II). The track is dominated by keyboards and guitar lines and the feel is typical Beardfish; great musicianship with colourful melody lines.

The second (title-) track is troubled by a rather weak chorus vocal melody. An odd fact because wildly talented singer / keyboard player Rikard Sjöblom has proven to be able to create memorable vocal melodies, however weird and complex the accompanying music may be. There’s also a short section of grunting in here that just isn’t convincing for me and being the only grunt vocal on the album it seems a bit out of place. Instrumentally the track is quite nice but with the stop-and-go structure the song struggles to hold the (my) attention. Overall the song is definitely weaker than other epic songs we know of Beardfish.

Next up is one of these epic gems; “Until You Comply (Including Entropy)” is 15 minutes of utter brilliance, comparable to “Note” from “The Void” or “And The Stone Said: If I Could Speak ” from “Mammoth”. The song starts out with a beautiful short Zappa-esque theme that keeps coming back later in the song in different forms. The different verse and chorus-like parts all fit together very well. In the middle part there’s quite a long breakdown with room for keyboard and guitar solo’s. The song ends with a beautiful piano and vocal coda of some previous parts, truly magnificent. The whole song is a total hit for me even though it’s over 15 minutes long, and I can imagine that it must have taken forever for a song like this to find its final form.

“In Real Life There Is No Algebra” is another great one. It's a more straightforward prog-rock song where a doubled guitar-keyboard riff forms the heart of the groove. And groove it does! Again, exceptional vocal duties from Sjöblom who covers multiple octaves with ease.

“Where The Rain Comes In” is again a great song and at eight and half minutes this song, together with the previous two tunes, forms the heart of this album. The track starts off with an uptempo, organ driven theme but breaks down after a few minutes into a very more quiet mood that slowly builds up again to a louder part with an eastern influenced vocal melody. This track is structured very well and feels natural despite a lot of different moods in the music. It also has some cool jazz rock influences later on with really hard driven organ parts, reminiscent of “Gentle Giant”.

“At Home…Watching Movies” is short song that features acoustic guitars and some percussion. A little folkie and dreamy. The few lines of lyric seem to be describe a dream about the movie “The Shining”. Nice interlude, but nothing special.

Another odd one is “Coup De Grace”. Again an instrumental track but this time the theme is played on the accordion by Sjöblom. The theme is very nice and kind of reminds me of a movie score. The addition of some great Hammond parts make this one quite entertaining and rocking later on but unfortunately the track lingers on a bit too long.

Next up is “Abigails Questions”. A song with two faces and quite hard on the listener at first. A lot of people find this one of the best songs on the album but for me it’s not. It starts out really nice though with some quiet instrumentation and nice vocal melodies. Especially the chorus “Nothing has a beginning, nothing has an end” is very nice and super catchy. It reappears later in the song several times in different forms. After about two minutes the song changes drastically and a series of short musical segments follow that don’t go together very well. The aforementioned Zappa influence is again very apparent here and the song that specifically comes to mind is “Inca Roads”. The whole build up of the middle part, including the choice of instruments seems to be an ode to this song, but a mediocre one. Fortunately, in the second half of the song we’re treated to a couple of great keyboard solo’s woven around some spoken word mumbo-jumbo about the density of space. First a solo on clavinet, then on Hammond organ. The last two minutes are basically an outro jam with a guitar solo somewhere in the back, also nice. Altogether this song feels a bit forced to me but it has enough nice stuff going on to entertain the listener.

Last is “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of”. With it’s uptempo repetitive instrumentation and aggressive vocal, this song displays an urgency not found elsewhere on the album. This makes it a strange album closer. The song is among the best on the album so it’s position on the album doesn’t do it justice.
In general I think the order of the songs on this album is not ideal. With a lot of the songs being so dense and musically challenging the order in which you place them on the album is probably more important than with an average rock album. A more logical order in my opinion would have been:

1. Awaken the Sleeping
2. Until You Comply (Including Entropy)
3. In Real Life There Is No Algebra
4. Where the Rain Comes In
5. The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
6. At Home... Watching Movies
7. Destined Solitaire
8. Abigail's Questions (In an Infinite Universe)
9. Coup de Grâce

First impressions do count and the title track being one of the first on the album is not a smart move.

All in all however, “Destined Solitaire” is another great album by one of the finest bands of the moment and easily holds up against there later output.



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user ratings (98)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JamieTwort
September 27th 2013


26988 Comments


Props for reviewing this. Great album.

SmersH
September 27th 2013


447 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review! Can barely remember this album... though, I do remember loving When the Rain Comes in. Hm, have to re-check!



Pos

tef
September 27th 2013


209 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys! Liking your avatars

JS19
September 27th 2013


7777 Comments


Definitely needed a review. Kewl thanks

menawati
September 27th 2013


16715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

need to check this out, nice review

Veldin
September 27th 2013


5240 Comments


Mammoth is so awesome that I'll have to check this out as well. Plus, their band name is too good.

Jethro42
September 28th 2013


18274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice to see this reviewed. I havent heard that album for ages, so I'll have to give it another spin.

Necrotica
October 3rd 2013


10693 Comments


Album rules

menawati
February 23rd 2014


16715 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

bit disappointing compared with the 2 after it and traffic 2

Observer
Emeritus
June 6th 2020


9393 Comments


Got any bf fans out there? Cant seem to find any consensus as to what their best release is

LeddSledd
June 8th 2020


7445 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

From most prog circles, I think their best is generally considered to be either Traffic p2 or Mammoth. I'd agree with either, though I'm more partial towards the former.



Btw huge Beardfish fan here. One of the best and consistently quality neo-prog groups imo.

Koris
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2023


21109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The t/t of this is so damn good



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