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Nirvana - The Story of Simon Simopath CD (album) cover

THE STORY OF SIMON SIMOPATH

Nirvana

Proto-Prog


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Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I must admit that I had quite different expectations from this group, than what I discovered after finding their records after long search. Instead of fuzzy psychedelia this first album of this group concist of carefully constructed orchestrated pop gems similar in style of The Beatles. Though I'm not a big fan of this style, I must admit that I enjoyed listening this record quite much. Psychedlic elements are present only in quite subbtle amounts, mostly in surrealistic lyrics and small artistic arrangements and audio effects. Also Campbell-Lyons Irish accent brings a sincere personal flavor to the music.

"Wings of Love" opens the album with dynamic and effective manner, and listeners are introduced to the story of an Earth visiting alien Simon Simopath, his friends and lady companion, "shot down by a kind of bow and arrow" from the orbit. A melancholic minor waltz "Lonely Boy" which is followed by more uplifting "We Can Help You", describing Simon's situations among men further in detail. In "Satellite Jockey" Simon head's back to the stars with his woman, arriving "In The Courtyard of The Stars", a please described as more tender jazzy ballad with nice rhtyhmic pauses, beautiful dreamy singing melodies and flutes. "You're Just The One" is a more faster piano driven bluesy song in vein of 60's rhythm blues. Sweet pop ballad "Pentecost Hotel" was also released as a single cut, and it's really carefully tinkered tune, maybe just too sweet for my taste. "I Never Found A Love Like This" continues in mellow and romantic spheres, leading to the wedding sequence "Take This Hand", which has strong chorus verses. The finale "1999" is a jokey dixieland tune, being quite funny but leaving a bit silly aftertaste for the whole story of this record. Well, this album isn't very serious in any aspect anyway.

Featuring the both stereo / mono mixes on the remastered CD I got appeared a bit futile to me, but there were some nice single B-sides included also, like "I Believe In Magic" from their fabulous first "Tiny Goddess" and "Feelin' Shattered" from their second single. "Life Ain't Easy" is really pretty and melancholic song, and "Requiem to John Coltrane" starts promisngly with an abstract soundwall and distant unclear noises, but the stupid fooling done trough the horn ruined the track in my opinion. I would recommend this album highly for those people who like orchestrated late 1960's pop music, and also fanatic sci-fi fans who want to check out all genre related stuff might be interested of listening this warmhearted album.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#114688)
Posted Friday, March 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's just isn't a Masterpiece 'cause it's one of the very first Rock Operas. To be honest this is a really small example of what Rock Operas would turn into later, with the all known Tommy from The Who, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway from Genesis, or even the almighty The Wall from Pink Floyd.

Still it has lots of good music, but it's a small record, about 25 minutes, so not quite the size a usual prog album has. I'd call this a psycheadelic record, it has lots of it about, and some really nice efects by the way. Highly recomended.

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Send comments to FloyidianTramp (BETA) | Report this review (#259963)
Posted Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars ‘The Story of Simon Simopath’ released the same year as ‘Sgt. Pepper’, ‘Days of Future Passed’, and ‘The Who Sell Out’. Like all of them this was one of the earliest incarnations of a rock concept album (using that term fairly liberally in the case of the Who). But unlike them this wasn’t a collaborative effort by an established band; rather, the UK version of Nirvana was really just a duo of songwriters (Patrick Campbell-Lyons Alex Spyropoulos) who brought in session musicians to complete this recording. They would also employ some of those artists in a couple of brief attempts at touring and cameo live appearances, but in the end most of what Nirvana would put out in their sixties heyday would come from the work of Campbell-Lyons Spyropoulos.

The story line is rather trite today, but creative and clever enough for 1967 I suppose. Simon, the main and almost only human character, is a young daydreamer who wants to learn to fly and find someone spectacular to live rather than be confined to Earth and to his dreary job behind a computer terminal. This in itself is rather reaching considering the first personal computer wouldn’t be introduced for nearly fifteen years after the album released and very few non-scientific jobs of that day involved using a mainframe terminal.

Then again perhaps Simon had connections in the science world, since he manages to land a gig shooting around the cosmos in a shuttle ship (also something not invented at the time but which has been since) and sending reports back to Earth. In the course of his travels he encounters a space-bound centaur (okay, not everything in this story ends up coming true in real life). The centaur transports him to a faraway world of bliss and peace and beauty and – well, basically Nirvana. There he meets and marries his dream girl and presumably lives happily ever after.

So that’s the whole story, and the album isn’t much longer than that, clocking in at less than 26 minutes spread over ten very brief songs, each representing pretty much one scene in the tale. The album closes with the very premature “1999”, an inaccurate prediction of when such a story might come to fruition.

The music here isn’t really progressive, although in 1967 it was probably considered to be. The similarities to ‘Sgt. Pepper’ are stronger than to ‘Days of Future Passed’, with simple guitar riffs, jaunty piano and peppy rhythms abounding. Think a less pensive version of Klaatu’s ‘Hope’ and you’ll get the idea.

While the duo enjoyed brief success and critical acclaim for the record, they were never able to make the band work as a live act and would disband just a few years later after managing to release four additional albums, all of which are slightly more progressive musically than this one. This is a mildly interesting and entertaining record, but nothing to get too excited about. I’m going to say it merits three stars for being innovative in its day, but not enough so to rate the label ‘essential’. Check out ‘Local Anaesthetic’ first, which is my personal favorite and features one of the greatest progressive music album covers of all time. If you’re still interested then this one will likely appeal to you as well. Otherwise just spin ‘Sgt. Pepper’ again and call it good.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#280027)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
historian9
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Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
3 stars This very charming album is one of the first concept/story albums around, predating the greats like THE WHO's "Tommy" by two years. The album is pretty tight regarding the story and not some loosely concept flowing about. In 10 short songs we hear the story of Simon who is bored of his work behind the computer, wishes to fly and find love. While it starts of just a bit dreamy but realistic, the story does get well, psychedelic for the lack of terms. It is very easy to follow and no one should have trouble grasping the lyrics, I think vocals Patrick Campbell are very enjoyable. The songs themselves are nice psychedelic pop and I think the comparison to BEATLES of Sgt.Pepper era isn't far behind. Not really progressive but nice little record (around 25 minutes), recommended to fans of 60's pop.

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Send comments to historian9 (BETA) | Report this review (#663902)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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