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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Simon Says

Like the many classic progressive bands before them (ELP, Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson, to name a few of the more notable and influential units from the past), Simon Says utilizes heady concepts and stories to build their music from.  Simon Says, just as their precedents had, sculpt a massive sound to create a loud but immeasurably enjoyable soundtrack.

Simon Says is influenced heavily by ’70 progression, with musical methods not far from ELP, Yes, or even early, Gabriel-era Genesis, although the ELP template is heavily in use along with a mix of Yes to balance.  Simon Says apparently concludes a trilogy of a story with their latest album, Tardigrade.  I didn’t know this as this is the first introduction I have had with this Swedish progressive band.  An inability to provide continuity is likely to dilute the review somewhat, and for this, I apologize.  However, I can talk about Tardigrade, and consequently, Simon Says, by my first impressions.  I can also say that, after having heard Tardigrade, I plan to rectify the musical lapse.  Tardigrade is a work of vast interest from several angles.

To listen to an album with the same DNA of progressive Rock as we have accustomed ourselves to in the past is a wonderful listening experience.  That is especially true when the members of the band are quite skilled in their instruments and know the blueprint of ‘70s progression as thoroughly and effectively as Simon Says does.  The music content found on Tardigrave compares favourably with the output of ELP, Gabriel-era Genesis, and Yes, making the music of Simon Says something to be excited about.

The album begins with a massive 14-minute song, “Suddenly the Rain,” that  hints strongly of Wakeman’s keys, even throwing in a few familiar notes of Patrick Moraz’s synth as heard on Relayer’s “To Be Over” (Yes).  There is another gigantic work called “Brother Where You Bound?” which clocks in around 26 minutes.  But really, there is not a bad song on the set.  Moreover, to be able to get fresh and enjoyable music like that from the ‘70s is a treat.

Tardigrade is a top-notch work from an excellent band.  I heartily recommend the Simon Says and their music to any fan of Progressive Rock, and to fans of any of the previously mentioned classic bands.  You will not be disappointed.

Release Date: March 25, 2008
Produced by: Simon Says
Format: CD

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