Gungfly – Lamentations

With an album from his flagship project coming out earlier in the year, Rikard Sjöblom has been a busy man lately. Beardfish’s ‘Mammoth’ however, only managed to moderately impress me, with most of my potential appreciation being lost on what I perceived to be the fairly recycled musical direction and lack of emotion. Gungfly is Sjöblom’s solo project, and while similar to the music that Beardfish makes, this appears to be where he directs his more personal material. Although not ultimately different from the music that Beardfish makes, Gungfly’s ‘Lamentations’ is a more moving observation from Sjöblom, and demonstrates his well-roundedness as a prog musician.

It would be safe to say that Gungfly and ‘Lamentations’ takes a more singer-songwriter approach to music than did Beardfish, albeit only slightly. Sjöblom does all of the instruments here, but there is the feeling that it is a full band playing; there are only a few moments where it is just taken to the man’s voice and his guitar. However, Rikard Sjöblom’s voice is the main attraction here, and he takes measures to ensure the listener that they are listening to a solo project rather than a lost Beardfish record. All the same, the sound and style here is not unexpected. There is a decent variety of sounds here, mostly rooted in the 70′s sound of rock music, but constantly branching out with new angles. The instrumentation never falls into a solo artist’s rut; all instruments played here are done quite well, and the guitars have some solos that are quite amazing.

The best thing here however is Rikard’s voice itself, which passes me here as being similar to that of Mikael Akerfeldt’s (of Opeth), but with a smoother quality to it, The biggest change I noticed from Beardfish to Gungfly are actually in the lyrics themselves; here, Rikard takes a much more personal approach to the music, drawing directly upon his life, rather than drawing out the kind of metaphors that some prog becomes infamous for. Take for instance the first track here, ‘Bringing Down The Walls’, a groovy number that revolves around the degradation of his family life when he was a kid, and even how it has shaped who he has grown into. Musically, this is not anything different from what I would expect on any Beardfish record, but the lyrics give it an extra push; it becomes much easier to relate to an artist’s music when they are opening up their hearts, rather than solely their intellects.

Sjöblom’s Gungfly is a solid outing from the Beardfish frontman, although it will still likely always be known as a side project, rather than something all its own. Despite the diversity in sound and style, this is nothing that Sjöblom is not already very used to, but his music here is driven by an added personal touch that I didn’t always hear when listening to Beardfish.

Tracklist:

1. Bringing Down the Walls (7:05)
2. White Light (5:02)
3. Lamentations (3:18)
4. Peace at Mind (5:12)
5. The Game (4:43)
6. Sleight of Hand (6:28)
7. In This House (5:00)
8. And She Drives Me… (4:14)
9. We Will Never Leave (9:38)
10. Shape of Days to Come (5:19)

Line-up:

*Rikard Sjöblom – guitars, organ, keyboards, synthesizer, accordion, percussion, vocals

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