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Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly - 'On Her Journey To The Sun' Hot

http://mail.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/13/08/dc/rikard-sjobloms-gungfly-on-her-journey-to-the-sun-67-1517256865.jpg
Written by Central Electronic Brain     January 29, 2018    
 
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A very promising effort for the next phase of Sjöblom's career.

It was surprising when Rikard Sjöblom's Beardfish called it a day, but in his resurrected Gungfly entity, he pretty much carries on in similar vein, albeit without some of the more radical/extreme elements that sometimes diminished my enjoyment of that band's music. Beardfish were never a band I fully embraced because of the randomness of some of their material and the angular nature of the heavy bits. Sjöblom's 'The Unbendable Sleep' solo album from last year was a definite high water mark for me; it's a superb and consistent offering with none of those rough edges that stopped my whole-hearted endorsement of Beardfish. To me, this Gungfly effort sits somewhere between these two, marginally closer to the solo effort.

Sjöblom is an immensely talented individual, both composing and playing, and again that shines through here, although there are times when I can't help feeling he over-eggs the pudding just a little. Some of the songs would be improved by being just a little simpler and without some apparently un-necessary twists and turns. That is, however, a minor criticism, as overall Prog fans should find this a very agreeable acquisition. This mix of styles also provides a nice variety, which keeps you on your toes.

The album sees a mix of epic and short numbers, these being well spaced to provide a nice flow to proceedings. 'Of The Orb' is one of the lengthier numbers and it wends and weaves through various phases, both acoustic and electric; the vocal arrangements are very clever. Fans of Gentle Giant will find much to enjoy.

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The instrumental 'Polymixia' is a wonderful mélange with funky electric piano and some eighties synths underpinning the fine guitar motifs, before a twinkling piano transforms the feel of the piece. After the attack of that track, 'Over My Eyes' is a wistful number with piano and strings supporting Sjöblom's plaintive vocals.

Elsewhere, 'Old Demons Die Hard' has a fine swagger and the title track is a Prog/Pop crossover with both terrific vocals and synth soloing. 'The River Of Sadness' is the album's last epic number featuring a great bridge and chorus in its initial and ending phases; I could do without the accordion section. The bass shines during the middle passage before a delightful piano and vocal section arrive.

A very promising effort for the next phase of Sjöblom's career.

Gary Marshall

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