Band Website: www.gungfly.net
Label: Progress Records
Label Website: www.progressrec.com
Release Date: 2011
It is not uncommon these days, unlike times past, to find artists not only working within a band but also having any number of musical projects going on the side. So it is with Beardfish guitarist and vocalist Rikard Sjoblom (vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums). With Gungfly he takes his unique vocals and musicianship in a somewhat different direction working with Rasmus Diamant (bass), Petter Diamant (drums) and Maja Sweden (trumpet). Lamentations is the second release from Gungfly following up on 2009’s Please Be Quiet and according to many is a little bit more proggy in nature. That may be the case but this is clearly not intended to be Beardfish “lite”, although it’s a little difficult to separate the two bands.
The 10-tracks on Lamentations range in length from 3:18 to 9:58 and feature a more blues-based-indie-rock approach to the writing. The compositions are somewhat more straight-forward and direct. Having said that there are many moments where a tune will change direction to suit the composer’s intent. Never quite as quirky as Beardfish the music of Gungfly still offers up a lot of variety. Everything gets under way with “Bringing Down the Walls” [7:45] an aggressive blues rocker that quickly morphs into a more complex piece with intricate guitar work. Over the course of the song it goes back and forth many times trading off the straight forward “four-four” with more intriguing shifts in time and tempo. As with most of his music Sjoblom has a way with injecting pleasing melodies, many times more than once into his work. The songs become catchy and appealing with repeated listens. The title track “Lamentations” [3:18] with its acoustic guitar work perhaps comes closest to sounding like Beardfish simply because of its quirky approach. The next track “Peace at Mind” [5:12] projects a kind of Beatles feel circa the Abbey Road era with its sign-along chorus and Mellotron back-up.
It seemed the more I listened to Lamentations, the more similarities between the two groups I heard although there are plenty of distinguishing musical elements. Fans of Beardfish will very likely be right into Gungfly simply because of the vocal and compositional similarities. The package I received featured a special edition of the disc that includes a bonus DVD of Gungfly in concert from 2009. If you enjoy the work of Beardfish I would urge you to give these guys a try. I think you will find much to enjoy on Lamentations.