Rikard Sjoblom’s Gungfly - On Her Journey To The Sun album review

Ex-Beardfish/Big Big Train man’s second solo set.

Rikard Sjoblom’s Gungfly - On Her Journey To The Sun album artwork

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Rikard Sjöblom is another of those prog polymaths for whom multitasking seems to come as naturally as whistling along to the radio.

Aside from recently joining Big Big Train and fronting several of his own projects (including, until last year, Beardfish), he’s now onto his second album as Gungfly, an act he considers so well-established that he has included a ‘best of Gungfly’ bonus CD with this album. His trump card is a keen pop sensibility that punctuates multifaceted suites with irresistible hooks, in between dazzling instrumentals, such as the squiddling synth and guitar sojourns on Of The Orb, a track that climaxes with Sjöblom’s yearning falsetto begging, ‘Stay with me, care for me, I will be yours.’ In truth, the blend doesn’t always convince. My Hero is a good song made un-simple for the sake of it, with over-complicated bass runs and quirky time signatures. But we can forgive that when it’s followed by the beautifully atmospheric piano patterns of If You Fall and the sweeping romance of Over My Eyes. He finds the best meld of prog and pop on River Of Sadness, which strays into a Gallic accordion passage and fretless bass solo at times, but is held together expertly with an Asia-esque soft rock chorus.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock