Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly – Alone Together (track from album of the same name)
Sorry folks, I’m well behind with this one, over two months, but I felt obliged to include it because there are few people keeping progressive rock music alive, even in Sweden, and the good ones are fewer and farther between, still.
I came across Rikard Sjöblom and his side project Gungfly about five years ago. He’s best known for the Swedish prog band Beardfish which has sadly now broken up, and the British band Big Big Train, of which he is still a member. But it was his first Gungfly songs which made an impact on me and especially the nine-minute extravaganza that is ‘Rumbling Boxes’.
Gungfly, which translates as anything from Fishpond to Quagmire in English, is Rikard Sjöblomtogether with brothers Rasmus (bass) and Petter (drums) Diamant, both of whom also play in various other bands in central Sweden.
Here is a lyric video for the title track of ‘Alone Together’ which is a song about loss, about not being able to take care of your children because of mental illness and being forced to put them in an institution or a care home. He says, “Musically it’s an adventurous piece for me, I wanted to mix many different styles and sounds and I even ended up growling a little which I haven’t done since Beardfish days. I also mixed that with surf guitars and ballad piano.”
Despite his power trio collaborations with the Diamants and others Sjöblom often plays most of the instruments himself in recordings and I’m sure that was the case with the aforementioned ‘Rumbling Boxes’. But on this occasion the brothers were back in force, leaving him with the keyboards and guitar as well as vocals.
Also returning is an emphasis on simple hard-hitting prog rock at the expense of the layered over-production which occasionally clogged up his previous album, ‘Friendship’.
There really isn’t much more to say to music like this, it’s either to your taste or it isn’t. If it is, settle back and enjoy the delights of the fishpond.
Listen carefully and you’ll hear snatches of several 1970s UK prog bands and the video is so King Crimson. But Mr Sjöblom is very much an artist of his own making.
Gungfly will play some dates in the UK, but not until October 2021!!