Beardfish
+4626-Comfortzone


4.0
excellent

Review

by tef USER (15 Reviews)
June 25th, 2015 | 26 replies


Release Date: 01/12/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not straying too far from their comfort zone, Beardfish successfully explores the alternative rock genre in their own unique way.

What are the boundaries of Beardfish’s comfort zone" And does the band dare to step outside these imaginary lines"

The somewhat awkward title of their latest release “+4626 Comfortzone”, raises these questions, especially since 2012’s critically acclaimed “The Void” was somewhat of a sidestep in the band’s discography, with it’s hard rocking approach and balanced aesthetic.

The animated cover art makes one suspect a return to their former sound and listening to the album this indeed is largely the case. Luckily the hideous cover art does not reflect the music on the album which is daunting and exceptional as always.

The album revolves around the central theme of feeling like a prisoner in your hometown, being forced into mediocrity by the people around you and not being able to break free from this. The album title actually is the area code of Beardfish’s hometown in Norway so there’s an autobiographical aspect to the album’s concept. Lyrically however, the concept is approached with a certain sarcasm making the negative emotional content easier to digest as a listener. Furthermore, the sound of the album is more uplifting and accessible than before resulting in an album that sometimes feels a bit disjointed from the central concept.

The basic musical theme of the album is delivered in three different songs; “The One Inside” part 1 is a short, instrumental version of the theme with a string ensemble playing the theme melody. Part 2 is a beautifully restraint, mainly acoustic pop-rock song, something quite out of the ordinary for Beardfish. A great opportunity for singer Sjoblom to also display his vocal qualities in the lower registers. Part 3 is an amazing emotional rock song and a fine ending to the album. Parts 1 and 3 serving as bookends for the rest of the songs is a wise decision; on previous records the band always struggled to give their releases a proper “album” feel. This is nicely taken care of here.

Besides displaying a more structured approach to the album format, the band also deliver some of the finest songs of their career. The title track is the ideal combination of beautiful melodies, virtuoso musicianship and emotional song writing and an example of what years of writing experience can boil down to; no over the top soloing or overly long or difficult song structures. Just the prog-rock essentials mixed in a brilliant song and executed in a solid, confident way. “Hold On” is another example of this.

The musical palette is diverse as ever on ““+4626 Comfortzone” but the pop-rock influence is more apparent here than on previous albums. “Can You See Me Now” is reminiscent of the early ‘90s band “Jellyfish” and even sounds a bit like “Queen”. “The One Inside part 3” with it’s grungy sound is also a foray into new territory for the band, think “Mother Lover Bone” or “Temple Of The Dog”. It’s a simple yet beautiful and emotional song.

The typical ‘70s prog sound however, is never far away and the exquisite vintage organs sound better and more detailed than ever. The quintessential 15 minute magnum opus “If We Must Be Apart” is a great example of this.

Unfortunately, there’s also couple of less interesting songs. “King” and “Daughter / Whore” are two of the heaviest songs of the album and feel like they’re leftovers from “The Void”. They lack any memorable melodies or hooks. “Ode To The Rock ‘N’ Roller” is a charming rocker but with it’s tongue in cheek lyrics and cabaratesque musical quirks it feels out of place on this album.

In the end Beardfish doesn’t stray very far from their own comfort zone musically but there does seem to be a tendency towards a more song orientated style.

Only truly great bands progress through time and create a “raison d’etre” by doing so. Beardfish seems to slowly move away from the Zappa-esque, ‘70’s prog towards a more straightforward and serious alternative rock style, with successful examples being “The One Inside” parts 2 and 3, “Can You See Me Now” and “Comfort Zone”.
The ability to write beautiful music and deliver it in an interesting and convincing way has always been very apparent with this band, so exploring a more mainstream style could lead to more commercial success.
And that, they would deserve!



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user ratings (60)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mythodea
June 25th 2015


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ooh, you got me for just a few days. I was planning on posting my review of this on Synday. Anyway, good review and I agree on most parts. But, dude, Daughter/Whore is incredible and it DOES have hooks (i.e. YOU SACRIFICE YOUR LIFE TO LIVE!!!(x4) )



Anyway, album is incredible. It was my first approach to the band and now I love almost everything I've heard from them. Also, ''Hold On'' reminds me of PoS in terms of vocals...

Psynuts
June 25th 2015


373 Comments


This album went under my radar, I'm glad that i picked it up a few days ago. Its another solid prog rock album by these guys, great musicianship and songwriting with some cringy lirics at times but that doesn't really bother me.

SpiritCrusher2
June 25th 2015


5713 Comments


I didn't like this one nearly as much as The Void, but it's ok

Veldin
June 25th 2015


2981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love the artwork

Jethro42
June 26th 2015


15120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is a grower. Great review, posd.

Mythodea
June 28th 2015


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bearish is an honest band. Period. They never pretended to be something else, they just played retro-prog. And they did it with style. And continue to do so.

Hydra12
June 29th 2015


5 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Has its moments but abit disappointed after the void.

tef
June 29th 2015


170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely a grower. Give it Some time. I was a bit underwhelmed too at first.

Titan
June 29th 2015


17982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this exceeded my expectations for sure

Hydra12
June 30th 2015


5 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah will give it a couple more spins. Ode To The Rock 'N' Roller is the biggest standout for me.

Titan
July 5th 2015


17982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i find it to be very consistent, especially when spinning it while doing other things......the album plays rather quickly

Antonius
October 27th 2015


359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

My first impression for Beardfish is one of the most positive ones I've ever had for a band. Being a fan of prog prock, this album was an absolute stunner for me. It got me from the first listening. I will definitely dig this band further.

Antonius
October 27th 2015


359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice review tef. Pos'd

Mythodea
October 28th 2015


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Beardfish gave my summer a reason to exist. Their music is awesome! Plus, consistently good.

Antonius
November 1st 2015


359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I want to dig further them.. Would you say that this is their better album?

Mythodea
November 2nd 2015


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not exactly. They have something new for every album but they all are in the same style. This has really good music writting and is a good starting point indeed. I would recommend Mammoth, they are equally good. The Void and Sleeping in the Traffic pt.II are very good, though I don't like them as much. Destined Solitaire is a very special album with many hidden things, all songs are stupendous and long so it might take you a bit to delve into it, but it's really rewarding. The rest I haven't listened much.

Antonius
November 2nd 2015


359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks a lot! I hope they are as accessible as in this one

Mythodea
November 2nd 2015


4168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they are. mailbox me sometime to tell me what you think of their other work.

tef
November 6th 2015


170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listen to Mammoth, then to The Void, equally superb albums.

Destined and Sleeping are also fine albums (check my review for Destined). Beardfish just have a really nice sound and I personally like Sjobloms vocals very much; he is so talented!

stabbler
August 6th 2016


1468 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty strange album. sounds very clunky in sections, but i am wondering if that's completely intentional.



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