Album Review ? Beardfish: Sleeping In Traffic Part 2

Beardfish has been one of those progressive-rock bands that toil in relative obscurity. But after three ambitious and expressive albums, the Swedish quartet (most easily compared to fellow countrymen the Flower Kings) seems ready to give listeners a wake-up call with Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two.

More cohesive than its 2007 predecessor, Part Two continues Part One’s concept of chronicling 24 hours in one person’s life, focusing here on the nighttime. By incorporating rock, jazz and a little heavy metal, country jam and musical wit into these eight songs, Beardfish offers a refreshing take on a genre long criticized for its earnestness.

The album’s highlight has to be the 35-minute title track — “a dream, basically,” according to versatile vocalist Rikard Sjöblom — which echoes some of Beardfish’s earlier, more eclectic work and incorporates spoken words, sound effects and parodies. Sleeping in Traffic: Part Two is a welcome addition to the modern-prog canon.

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