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Simon Says - Tardigrade CD (album) cover

TARDIGRADE

Simon Says

 

Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 164 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

infandous
3 stars This is the kind of album I consider to be comfort prog or perhaps a guilty pleasure. Really, it's what a lot of people consider retro prog, though it seems more like a spin off of the Flower Kings and Spock's Beard (Morse era) than a retread of 70's prog (and an excellent stand in for The Flower Kings it certainly is, while we wait for their next album or project).

That said, I really enjoy listening to this album. The long tracks are the best, especially the first, which makes me wish the whole album was as good as that one song. But the shorter tracks are well done also, and are even quite good in some cases (The Chosen One, in particular). The basic sound is The Flower Kings on speed, with a vocalist who has more in common with Gabriel than Jon Anderson (or, for this comparison, more Stolt than Froberg). The playing is flawless, the production equally so. However, there is a sense for me of being kind of worn out by the end of the album. It is quite long, and most of the tracks have a fast and complex nature to them that can wear you down over the course of the album. Really, its biggest flaw is a sort of uniformity of sound and style. But that is also its appeal for me, as it's a sound and style I happen to love.

In the end, there really isn't anything that stands out, melody wise or hook wise, that pushes this above the good, but non-essential level (though the melodies and hooks are certainly good and enjoyable to listen to, especially the first track of the album). But for those of us that enjoy this type of thing (again, comfort prog, I call it), familiar and fun to listen to prog, it is well worth having a copy. If you want originality and innovation, this isn't for you. Though I will say, despite my comparisons, that this band does in fact have a sound all their own. It's just that it is similar enough to other bands that it will undoubtedly be of little interest to many forward listening proggers. But if you enjoy vintage keys, well played melodic guitar, Squire-like bass, and busy complex drumming, distinctive vocals, this is worth a listen.

There is apparently some sort of concept here, but I can't be bothered to find out about it, and it's not very obvious to me from the lyrics. In any case, that may turn some folks away all by itself (not another symphonic prog concept album!!!!).

So, to conclude, this is nothing particularly special in the mass of prog releases, but I enjoy it quite a bit and it's been in rotation for a couple months now. Certainly no masterpiece, and probably not essential, but definitely worth a listen or ten for the sympho fan. Good stuff.

infandous | 3/5 |

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