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#1 2009-07-21 12:00:00

Rikard Sjöblom
Moderator
Registered: 2008-06-27
Posts: 188

Bad review of SIT 2

I almost feel I have to put this review in here since it's the first REALLY bad one of SIT 2 smile

"Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two
Beardfish Eclectic Prog

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Beardfish are a likable bunch with a powerful sound, they've got complete control over their instruments, the band's leader is amazing, not only does he write all of the music and play nearly all of the keyboards but he also takes all the lead vocals (some beautifully vulnerable passages in there). The many positive reviews on Progarchives gave me the impression this album HAD to be a masterpiece - all those seasoned critics just could not be wrong, could they?

Well, I'm afraid they did have it wrong, and I'm totally astonished that, at the time of writing, this ranks among the three most popular albums of 2008. In spite of all the professionalism and the goodwill on display, Beardfish's sophomoric humour and post-adolescent angst totally get me down.

Now Frank Zappa is often criticised for being a homophobe and a misogynist - wrongly, in my view. His lyrics are misinterpreted by people who just don't get satire IN GENERAL. Zappa was a misanthrope in the same vein as Jonathan Swift; he couldn't help seeing the ridiculous side of everyone and everything. Zappa's lyrics may annoy you, but at least they're never dull - except on those albums which turn out to be rush job.

SLEEPING IN TRAFFIC PART TWO is not a rush job, it's intended as a Big Statement, and Beardfish have obviously taken a leaf out of Zappa's book, but I simply don't know what to make of 'South of the Border', a tune in which a guy is first ridiculed for lamely chatting up the ladies in a bar, and then for sleeping with a balding drag queen, only to be finally praised (???) in an operatic manner, with the words:

"How could something he had always thought was filthy growing up, suddenly seem so right? 'CAUSE HE WAS GAY!"

I don't know if this kind of thing passes for Political Correctness in Sweden (where Beardfish are from), but to me it sounds cackhanded in the extreme.

This album's magnum opus, 'Sleeping in Traffic', is an even worse offender. The first ten minutes are nicely angst-ridden, the band really spell it all out for you, piling cliché upon cliché... By all means, people, write a 35+ mins. epic if you must, but be aware that your listeners expect some kind of tension, and an emotional climax or two! Instead, however, Beardfish soon descend into infantile whimsy. Suddenly we're sailing "from Norway to Peru" with a bunch of stage pirates. (If you thought Genesis' "Willow Farm" was faintly embarrassing, try THIS!) We end up in a 1970s disco, and sure enough, borrowing yet another of Zappa's ideas, the band launch into the "ha ha ha ha" from the Bee Gees' "Staying Alive", and of course they can't leave it at that, their singer sees the need to incorporate the Bee Gees' very lyrics into his vocals. I can imagine this passage might cause sniggering among hairy prog-lovers (unable to dance, of course) whenever Beardfish play live, but the recorded version bored me from the first time I heard it...

Soon after, the song's protagonist is confronted with a "concrete stone faced super sonic ultra bitch" (???) and her boyfriend, a punk who's got his hair dyed, and then out come these lyrics, tantalisingly slow:

The punk is raising living hell / I decide to grow my shell / Run from here while I still can / 'Cause he's got a gun in his hand / Shooting bullets where they hit / Or wherever they may fit / My stomach begins to ache a bit / And I collapse while thinking: "[&*!#]"

This passage sounds so incredibly lame, you can't believe anyone would dare to waste your time with this. And so "Sleeping in Traffic" fizzles out.

I hate to slag Beardfish off, since any new band which aims to make music in the grand prog tradition ought to be encouraged and, moreover, the band apparently like Chimay, one of the beers from my own native country! As I said before, much of their playing is good fun. The album's instrumental bits are excellent, and maybe, given some time, I'll come to forgive the band their sheer goofiness...

But I feel I ought to write, above all, an honest review. Since Beardfish have been wildly overrated in these parts, please be warned: you may have the same reservations about their music as I do."


Feels like he/she thinks we're a homphobic bunch of really bad comedians (guess that part mainly concerns me though, haha!) and Hey! I'm not gonna defend myself since everyone's entitled to their opinion ofcourse.

Cheers - Rikard

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#2 2009-07-21 12:48:03

elTob
Member
From: Germany
Registered: 2008-10-14
Posts: 10
Website

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

"The punk is raising living hell / I decide to grow my shell / Run from here while I still can / 'Cause he's got a gun in his hand / Shooting bullets where they hit / Or wherever they may fit / My stomach begins to ache a bit / And I collapse while thinking: "[&*!#]""

That's one of my favourite parts on the album. How dare he criticise it?

Otherwise it appears to me he just has another sense of humour than you guys which somehow makes him dislike the album in general.
And the "gay" political correctness thing is just ridiculous. It seems he is overly sensitive.

As it says "prog reviewer", I presume it's from progarchives?

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#3 2009-07-21 14:31:44

Hugo F.
Moderator
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2008-11-09
Posts: 278
Website

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

I wouldn't be too disappointed. Looks at which albums got only two stars as well. The guy is a sour puss wink

http://www.progarchives.com/Collaborators.asp?id=7221 (scroll down completely)

PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI Stati Di Immaginazione | review
GENESIS Wind And Wuthering | review
ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Wardenclyffe Tower | review
MATCHING MOLE Matching Mole | review
MAGIC PIE Motions Of Desire | review
YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Go Home! The Complete Best of the Yellow Magic Orchestra | review
PAVLOV'S DOG At the Sound of the Bell | review
STEVE HOWE Elements (Steve Howe's Remedy) | review
PETER GABRIEL Peter Gabriel (2 - "Scratch") | review
KING CRIMSON THRaKaTTaK | review
GONG Shamal | review
JEAN-LUC PONTY Storytelling | review
YES Going for the One | review
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Emerson, Lake and Palmer | review
PAT METHENY GROUP Letter From Home | review
BEARDFISH Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two | review
JEAN-LUC PONTY The Very Best of | review
THE WHO By Numbers | review
THE WHO It's Hard | review
RICK WAKEMAN No Earthly Connection | review
JETHRO TULL Living With the Past | review
CHRIS SQUIRE Fish Out Of Water | review
THE FLOWER KINGS Paradox Hotel | review
PINK FLOYD Ummagumma | review
WHITE WILLOW Storm Season | review
JETHRO TULL Stormwatch | review
THE TANGENT Not As Good As The Book | review
JETHRO TULL Heavy Horses | review
YES Yesterdays | review
JETHRO TULL The Broadsword And The Beast | review
STEVE HOWE Pulling Strings | review
STEVE HOWE Beginnings | review
ROBERT WYATT Ruth is Stranger Than Richard | review
ROBERT WYATT The End of an Ear | review
GONG Time Is The Key | review
SUPERTRAMP Retrospectable - The Supertramp Anthology | review
RICK WAKEMAN Rhapsodies | review
VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Tommy - As Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra & Chamber Choir | review
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Pictures at an Exhibition | review
WEATHER REPORT Mr. Gone | review

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#4 2009-07-21 14:55:37

EbbandFlow
Member
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: 2009-07-08
Posts: 22
Website

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

Giving SIT2, "Emerson, Lake and Palmer", "The Who By Numbers" or "Peter Gabriel (2 - Scratch)" 2 stars is ridiculous....  there are plenty of others in that list I might agree with.  But I'll stand strongly by those 4 at least...  ;-)

While I'll admit that SIT1 is stronger than SIT2, in my opinion.  They're both great albums and well above the 2 star mark.  =-/

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#5 2009-07-21 16:45:28

Rikard Sjöblom
Moderator
Registered: 2008-06-27
Posts: 188

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

Thanks guys big_smile
At the same time it's almost funnier to read bad reviews than average ones... The really good ones are ofcourse welcome when you feel like they've understood what we want to say and do with our music!

/Rikard

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#6 2009-07-21 18:50:52

SteveA
Administrator
From: UK
Registered: 2008-06-05
Posts: 1380

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

Bad reviews tend to make me more curious about an album! All publicity is good publicity, don't worry about it wink

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#7 2009-07-21 21:20:02

Hugo F.
Moderator
From: Netherlands
Registered: 2008-11-09
Posts: 278
Website

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

Yes I agree, when looking for info on Cds or DVDs, I always read the negatives at Amazon. The positives are almost always done by fans, who are less critical. Also, some of those Amazon reviews are flat out hilarious!!

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#8 2009-07-22 15:18:45

EbbandFlow
Member
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: 2009-07-08
Posts: 22
Website

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

As fans of prog rock - we should be *used* to albums being misunderstood!  wink

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#9 2009-07-25 03:12:28

hassanguason
Member
Registered: 2009-07-15
Posts: 20

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

SIT2 is great. It's ok not to like some music, I don't like most of the songs from "the sane day"........





...yet.

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#10 2009-07-29 00:13:30

mpomy
Member
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 25
Website

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

SIT2 is not only one of my favorite records in the prog vibe, it's one of my favorite records period.  Eeryone is entitled to their opinion; they're like assholes!  I think I read that the title track is a bit more vintage, so I'm more than willing to let some things go.  Also, most of the criticism is directed toward the lyrics.  Last time I checked, prog lyrics have a tradition for being a bit off at times.  And one thing that always amazes me about Beardfish lyrics is that, as far as I know, Rikard's first language (native tounge) is NOT English.  Even so, I have found the ideas and word images to be compelling, quirky and just wonderful.  Don't pay any attention to the haytahs!

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#11 2009-08-13 22:51:07

Fredrik
Member
Registered: 2008-10-26
Posts: 26

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

Well, sometimes it can be fun to have a peek into a parallel universe... Fuxi is so worried about PC that he feels compelled to WARN people of Beardfish!! There is a great term for these clueless critic wannabees: Packard Geese... smile

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#12 2009-08-27 00:12:00

Fredrik
Member
Registered: 2008-10-26
Posts: 26

Re: Bad review of SIT 2

Speaking of bad reviews, here's the words of a Swedish: http://www.artrock.se/artrock2009/recension2009_124.htm
If you don't read Swedish, don't bother. The reviewer is confused. He says The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of resembles Genesis' The Waiting Room... meaning it is an instrumental improvisation. It's a shame that there are prog rock reviewers that are so dumb as this one because the whole genre is in need of reviewers who are able to tell the youngster of today in clear cut language that there is great music out there, like Beardfish's latest.

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