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Simon Says

Symphonic Prog

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Simon Says Tardigrade album cover
4.10 | 223 ratings | 24 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Suddenly The Rain (14:47)
2. Tardigrade (3:43)
3. The Chosen One (5:44)
4. Moon Mountain (2:33)
5. As The River Runs (10:40)
6. Your Future (0:29)
7. Strawberry Jam (2:32)
8. Circles End (6:19)
9. Brother Where You Bound (26:33)
10. Beautiful New Day (0:43)

Total Time: 74:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Daniel Fäldt / vocals
- Jonas Hallberg / guitars, percussion
- Magnus Paulsson / keyboards
- Stefan Renström / basses, keyboards, vocoder, story concept, co-producer
- Mattias Jarlhed / drums, percussion, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Felicia Fortes and Margareta Hjortsberg

CD Galileo Records - GR016 (2008, Switzerland)
CD ProgRock Records ‎- PRR470 (2008, US)

Thanks to Tarcisio Moura for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SIMON SAYS Tardigrade ratings distribution

(223 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SIMON SAYS Tardigrade reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars After reading a review written by my PA friend Erik Neuteboom about Simon Says second album I knew I had to listen to this band. After all, anything that sounded like early to mid period Genesis might be good at least. Well, I could not find their early stuff, but I happended to be able to get their latest release, called Tardigrade, which I did not heard anything about but decided to take my chances anyway. I put the album on my CD player and I was quite surprised how good the music turned out to be. While there is obvious strong Genesis and Yes influences, their symphonic prog is quite original and exciting.

Thsi conceptual album has many moods and colours, with a generous use of 70´s sounding Hammond Organ and mellotron. From bombastic outburts of keyboards and guitar to delicate acoustic pieces, from epic 25 minute tracks to short instrumental interludes this album has everything to satisfy the classic prog listener. The songs are very well crafted, the musicians are masters of their respective instruments and the songwriting is superb. Daniel Fäldt voice took me some time to get used to, but it is good and versatile enough for this highly demanding style. Most important is the energy and conviction in which the sound is delivered: those guys really love what they´re doing. Credit should also be given to the right production and mixing.

If youré into classic symphonic prog music, strongly 70´s rooted, this is the CD for you. One of the best releases of 2008 already. Highly recommended.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars

After the release of their captivating CD Paradise Square and splendid contribution to the 2-CD Odyssey entitled The Greatest Tale I have become a Simon Says fan so I was very curious to this new release album.

Well, halfway my first listening session I quickly concluded that Tardigrade is very worth listening and after two listening sessions it's even on the brink of being superior to Paradise Square! I am delighted about the lush vintage keyboard sound, what a cascade of Mellotron waves, Moog sounds and Hammond organ runs, especially in the alternating opener Suddenly The Rain (fiery guitar, heavy Hammond, flashy Moog flights, the sound of a steel-guitar and a bombastic interlude with majestic choir-Mellotron), As The River Runs (spectaculare Moog sounds and wah-wah - and steel guitar blended with Hammond and Mellotron) and my absolute highlight, the epic (more than 25 minutes) Brother New Day that contains many instrumental parts including a sensational break with pleasant synthesizer work, wah-wah guitar and choir-Mellotron like Howe and Wakeman, sparkling piano, fat Moog runs like early Keith Emerson and frequently exciting interplay between guitar and keyboards. In some tracks you can enjoy the sound of the vocoder (like Mr. Blue Sky by ELO) and I love the song Moon Mountain with a wonderful blend of classical - and electric guitar, like a duet by Hackett and Howe. I would like to end this review with the remark that the distinctive, slightly theatrical vocals will not be everybody's cup of tea but to me it's not a problem and many parts on this CD are instrumental.

I am glad that Simon Says have continued to make captivating progrock, this new studio album deserves 4 solid stars, I hope you will share my enthousiasm (like my Brasilian PA friend Tarcisio did, obrigado), what an exciting sound, especially the vintage keyboard aficionados will often be carried away to cloud #9!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Talk about progressing! Swedish prog band Simon Says finally fulfills its obvious destiny with this scintillating piece of brilliance. With 1995's "Cenwein" and the even better "Paradise Square" released in 2002, it was only a question of time and maturity that would propel these lads into Prog's version of nirvana , a.k.a. by our own Erik Neuteboom as that elusive place he calls (and we all aspire to) , "Prog Heaven". I was never really apprehensive as long as the lead would be kept by Stefan Renström, a sizzling bass virtuoso and competent songwriter/arranger/producer whose day would come. Well, that day is here and now. My esteemed PA colleagues Erik and Tarcisio both gave this new recording a resounding thumbs up, distributing 4+ ratings with seemingly no hesitation. That kind of communality is always impressive, so how could I resist enjoying this! Well, after only a couple of spins, I believe ""Tardigrade" to be even better than I expected. What a bloody delirious symphonic prog ride this is , wearing its references well and unashamed, the boys certainly go for the one. The festival roars onward straight from the gun, "Suddenly the Rain" is a 14 minute epic stunner with Renström's buffalo bass leading the way, astute keyboardist Magnus Paulsson throwing in all manner of organ, synthesizers and mellotrons, while guitarist Jonas Hallberg contributes both delicate acoustic work and a multitude of rousing guitar fireworks. Fans of IQ, The Flower Kings, Yes, Galahad and Satellite will certainly revel in the blitzing pace, the numerous twists and loops but I must say the musicianship level here is ridiculously self assured, verging on genius. Drummer Matti Jarlhed keeps things ultra tight, a little hint of Le Orme's Miki Dei Rossi in his solid timekeeping, while vocalist Daniel Fäldt remains an incongruous acquired taste but whose obvious skills remain uncontested. The arrangements repeatedly veer from the gorgeous refrain into adventurous instrumental outings, searching out new areas to explore. What a beginning! Whew! The title track speeds along at breakneck speed, zipping amok within dense poly rhythms, nearly into complex Gentle Giant territory, very taut, very precise. The organ churns, the guitar slithers reptilian, the bass punctuating the fury, winking sadistically at the manic percussor. "The Chosen One" where sweet acoustic guitars chime in a breezy ballad, washed with haunting mellotron and a serene vocal, out of the blue exploding into a massive symphonic prog blowout that would make Yes say Yes, chock full of the usual suspects. Again, a small salute to Stefan whose bass just anchors all this bedlam nicely. A Vocodered voice only adds to the thrill. Jonas Hallberg shows his considerable acoustic/electric mastery on "Moon Mountain", a lovely interlude and respite from all the previous hysteria. A plethora of sampled special effects atmospherics ushers in the rather medieval-inspired 10 minute +, the masterpiece "As the River Runs", the band obviously having researched my avowed weakness for Renaissance/baroque inspiration, here augmented by some somber Mellotron tapestries, Fäldt's voice pleading convincingly. Supple piano adds to the furious mix, suckering the bass to rumble even louder, harassed by some howling synth blasts. When Hallberg does his pseudo- Steve Howe pedal steel flights, carousing openly with Moogs deliciously insane, Oooh Erik, this IS Prog Heaven! Where is my white flag when I need it! "Strawberry Jam" seems to be just that, a recorded moment where the lads just decided to let it rip and may the tapes catch every note. Incredible little ditty full of fury, speed, technique and gusto, featuring a short bass solo that will make Reingold, Hopper , Jones and company take notice. "Circles End" actually showcases Daniel's vocal ability, a perhaps too rich for prog voice that has a hugely contemporary sound which is far removed from the classical male rock voice of yore. Some sultry flute and oboe add plenty of emotive colorings to this pastoral, convincing piece, decorated with some stunning synth and piano work. The band has learned to augment their sound palette but also judiciously know when to add what where. The term is maturity and the next 26 minute whopper will be the litmus test here for most fans, because as magnificent as the music has been up to now, a lousy, misguided or plodding epic can be the "Bacio della Medusa" (Kiss of Death). Hi Finn! From the very first seconds of "Brother Where You Bound", they go straight for the undefended jugular, Daniel Fäldt sounding like a cross between Peter Nicholls and fellow Swede Twin Age's amazing vocalist, with fiery Hammonds ablaze, the monstrous bass shooing every one from its destructive path and the beat hammered mercilessly. Obviously with such a wide berth, all the musicians get to stretch out there considerable chops. Magnus Paulsson is the new century's Wakeman, displaying a dizzying command of all sorts of keyboards, shining significant charm on all his forays as well as superb technique. Hallberg can supply some riveting leads, combining passion and fire, constantly proposing at least a half dozen new tones and textures. Hey, did I mention the bass? When I am asked what constitutes a masterpiece prog album, I usually stick to same old time worn credo: listen to the entire disc while concentrating particularly on one instrument (but still hearing the others) and after alternating the exercise with all main instruments, you will know exactly just how magnificent that recording is. Going through this album while just listening to the bass should be enough to convince most proggers. What an epic smorgasbord this is! "Tardigrade" is certainly among the top symphonic prog albums of 2008 and probably one of the best ever from Sweden. That's saying a lot (well it was a long album and even longer review). The Flower Kings better look over their shoulder, Simon Says: It's a Beautiful Day. Skoal! 5 Swedish golden crowns.
Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Fans of 70's inspired symphonic prog rock will have a good time with this third release by Swedish band Simon Says, the third and last chapter in a series of concept albums.

Genesis seems to be the major inspiration for the band, especially the harmonic soloing segments here with guitars and keyboards in skilled interplay gives that impression. Heavy use of hammond organ - or something with a similar sound - indicates that there are other influences to the music too, and there's quite a few segments here with atmospheric guitar playing in a manner and style similar to Camel as well. Three long tunes dominate this release, with the tune Brother Where You Bound? the most dominant of these; clocking in at just under 27 minutes. Thankfully all the long tunes here work out, and the longest one is also the best one - at least in my opinion.

High class musicianship and good production are showcased on this release; but the compositions still leaves a bit to be desired. Nothing bad here, but nothing brilliant either. A better than average and close to solid release.

Review by progrules
4 stars When I noticed some months ago the great band Simon Says had released a new album I was sure I had to get hold of it. Well, I say the great band but actually that was based on one single track and that was the brilliant performance on the Odyssey project (3 cd release, see concept albums). That was nevertheless enough to know that I had to check them out some more and when there is a release in the running year I guess it was about high time for that.

Already at first listen I knew I was not going to be disappointed by the purchase. I say going to be because an album like this needs several listens (even for an experienced progger) to give the final review. I'm quite some listens further now and fortunately I can say it's still growing on me. The album starts off with a blistering track called Suddenly the rain, a real rocking tune, well tune, it's almost a true epic. It's followed by the short title track, another cracker, short but firm one might say. Next up is the 3rd one in a row in more or less the same style and just as you think there is not much variety the 4th track is a nice acoustic instrumental called Moon Mountain also very much ok to me. As the river runs is the 3rd longest on the album and is building up from slow and quiet to more up tempo after about 4 minutes and a little while later interesting keyboards taking the turn, then another slow down with vocals before we get to the second half of the track which appears to be pretty accessible although still absolutely progressive. A very good track this, along with the other two epics the best of the album to me. No 6 is a short interlude which is forgettable, ok maybe a breathing moment before it's firing at all cylinders with the next instrumental Strawberry Jam, another very energetic tune. Circles end is a vocal/acoustic song with nice flute and guitar with in the second half of the song also added keyboards. This track reminds me of King and the castle by Pendragon. Finally it's time for the longest of the album Brother where you bound. As I say so often with other epics (tracks of this length hardly ever disappoint me, is that coincidence ?) this is what you may expect from a song of this length. Because it's an epic with lots of variation and twists and turns, instrumental passages, a great compositional effort. Another short one (like the 6th) closes the album leaving me behind with a very satisfied feeling.

It's the first album for me by Simon Says, a band that used to be in the neo progressive category, maybe that was correct at one point but the switch the site made towards symphonic is fully justified because that is where the band belongs right now (and also with their Odyssey contribution). If I leave the two short tracks out of the marking I come to a final conclusion of some 4,15 so 4 stars, well deserved.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. It's over 74 minutes long and it's a concept album. Ok one more strike and your out. Haha. Well I know it's all about the music and this is really well done. Sort of in the style of SPOCK'S BEARD and THE FLOWER KINGS as we get some very prominant bass and bombast throughout. There is sampled mellotron here as well, and the keyboards are all over this album. Vocals are ok.

"Suddenly The Rain" opens with organ, guitar and heavy drums as they seem to throw everything at us but the kitchen sink. It settles with deep bass and vocals.The bass is huge. A calm with acoustic guitar and vocals 3 1/2 minutes in. It kicks back in with some scary bass.Themes are repeated. Nice guitar 5 minutes in. Great sound 11 minutes in. "Tardigrade" is uptempo with some monster bass and keyboard work. Vocals come in and guitar. Good guitar solo before 3 minutes. "The Chosen One" features reserved vocals and acoustic guitar early. Mellotron before a minute. It changes to an uptempo melody before 2 minutes, very SPOCK'S BEARD-like. Some excellent organ follows. Vocals before 4 1/2 minutes. An explosion ends it. "Moon Mountain" features both acoustic and electric guitars. "As The River Runs" is darker with processed vocals until it changes a minute in. Drums, piano and mellotron before 2 minutes. Vocals a minute later as mellotron flows and bass throbs slowly. I like the piano after 4 minutes. The tempo continues to shift to the end. Killer sound before 9 minutes.

"Your Future" is a 29 second interlude of processed vocals. "Strawberry Jam" is an uptempo instrumental led by drums and keys before the guitar takes over. "Circle's End" features acoustic guitar and reserved vocals with mellotron. "Brother Where You Bound ?" is the over 26 minute epic. I do think this is the best song on here.The bass is chunky and the organ runs are powerful. Spacey synths almost sound like theremin 6 1/2 minutes in. Aggressive guitar after 9 minutes with synths and mellotron as bass shakes the foundations. A calm with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals before 12 minutes. Kicks back in a minute later. The bass and organ are outstanding.The sound before 17 minutes and before 18 1/2 minutes are my favourite parts, very Swedish sounding. Nice guitar solo after 25 minutes as we get a big finish. "Beautiful New Day" is simply strummed guitar and vocals.

The bass is by far the most appealing thing about this album. Lots to like though, but at over 74 minutes there's lots to be indifferent about as well.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Simon Says are a new band to me even though they released their first album in 1995. They're not the most prolific of bands seeming to only release an album every six or seven years. Tardigrade is their third and I'm very pleased to have discovered them with this release. They come from Sweden, a country with so many excellent prog bands already and we can add Simon Says to that list.

The band are excellent players and produce well written and played symphonic prog with many influences. Not least I'm often reminded of their fellow countrymen The Flower Kings as well as glimpses of Yes and Genesis, particularly mid seventies era. Listen to Circles End to hear an instrumental section that could have come straight off A Trick Of The Tail.

Vocalist Daniel Fäldt has a distinctive voice and comes over as one quarter Chris Martin (Coldplay), one quarter Francis Dunnery (ex It Bites), the other fifty percent his own quirky style. Magnus Paulsson's keyboards alternate between vintage and more contemporary sounds making a pleasing combination and a fine player he is too. Jonas Hallberg is an excellent and fluent guitarist showing both Hackett and Howe influences and the rhythm section of Matti Jarlhed (drums) and Stefan Renström (bass) hold things together with ease as well as displaying intricacies in their playing.

Like all great symphonic prog we get the longer pieces which are broken up between a number of shorter ones like instrumental (Strawberry Jam) and sometimes acoustic based too (Beautiful New Day and Moon Mountain). As good as they are it's the longer ones that work best, the highlight being the epic Brother Where You Bound. Twenty Six minutes of symphonic heaven to please even the most demanding lover of the genre. Strong melodies alongside well structured and numerous instrumental sections keep it interesting throughout. A modern day classic for sure!

This really is an excellent album and highly recommended to symphonic fans. So much so that I wouldn't hesitate to buy the previous two albums, if I can ever find them that is.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Gatot says "Listen to SIMON SAYS!"

I know this Sweden band very late from their latest album Tardigrade (2008) and I regret not knowing it since their debut in 1995. It was a friend of mine who introduced me to this album only three weeks ago. Surprisingly it blew me away at first spin. It was actually quite complex in terms of composition and the melody is not as catchy you might have expected, may be. Well, at least for me when I first spun the album. So my knowledge about the band is limited only to this album and I have no comparison at all on how the band performed in their previous two releases.

Just before I go into detail, let me explain how good this album in terms of its composition, ie: melody, harmonies, complexity, change of style, and structural integrity. Even though the melody was quite hard for me to digest at first spin, but it grew on me when I spin more and more. And by this time, I have been listening to this album in its entirety for more than ten times. And ..surprisingly I don't get bored at all with the music. Come to think of it, actually, I'd rather have a music which does not have catchy melody at first listen and later on it would grow steadily. I remember vividly how hard I digested Yes' 'Gates of Delirium' at first listen. But now, that song from Yes is my best favorite track from Yes. So is the case with this album. The first time it was hard for me to accept the melody of the opening track 'Suddenly The Rain'. It applies to other tracks in the album.

The harmonies created from the talents of the musicians involved are really great. Each musical segment creates its unique beauty combining the instruments which work in a balanced way and great vocal line. The music is quite complex involving multi-layered keyboards / synthesizers, Hammond organ, mellotron intertwined with great guitar playing, dynamic drumming and solid basslines. The complex part reminds me to the music of ELP even though major influence is from early Genesis (Hackett era). The album also demonstrates frequent changes of style that happen throughout every single song it offers. The most important part is on the structural integrity. Yeah, this album has an excellent structural integrity in each individual song AND the whole album, in a cohesive way. It's quite strange, though, as this album comprises songs with varied duration from 0:30 to 26 minutes epic!

Having considered thoroughly on the composition and performance, I finally conclude that this album deserves a 4 ½ stars rating ? it's almost perfect! Do you know why I retain ½ star from being masterpiece? It's actually not a big issue at all, but I don't feel it right if I do not put a NOTE on this. It's basically on 'Circles End' track. The composition is actually great, perfect. But I have one concern: it has a pretty close style and nuance of Genesis' 'Entangled' especially on the background keyboard work. You should compare it with Genesis 'Entangled' last part. No harm, no imitation actually .. but the nuance is so close... If you do not have any issue with this ..then you should rate this album with a FULL five star rating!

Let's have a look on track by track basis ...

This was what Genesis should sound after Hackett left the band!

'Suddenly The Rain' (14:47) opens brilliantly with a relatively fast tempo symphonic prog music with multilayered keyboards / synthesizer work combined with howling guitar work. Having demonstrated great opener the music slows down and let the vocal of Daniel takes part. His voice is excellent and most importantly he does not seem to force his voice to be Gabriel-like or Collins-like. If you know Citizen Cain, try compare Daniel's voice with Cyrus. You will find the difference because Daniel's voice sounds natural while Cyrus forces himself to be Gabriel-like. Or, you might compare with Unifaun's vocalist who also forces his voice to be both Gabriel and Collins alike. The music then moves beautifully with many changes of style combining electric and acoustic guitar being used at the same time in this song. The music sounds like Genesis Gabriel / Hackett era. I am sure if you are Genesis fan, you must recognize this music even though the song is not an imitation of any Genesis song. All musicians involved in this album demonstrate their skills in a balanced way and all of them are very talented. Unlike The Watch in which the guitar player is lacking, Simon Says guitarist is really expressive in his guitar playing. The music turns different when it comes to minute 8:50 with catchy keyboard work. The music changes into marching style that reminds me to the music of ELP. Oh man.. this opening track is really GREAT! The guitar solo is really killing! If you don't like this track, I challenge you with this intriguing question: 'How prog are you man..?'

'Tardigrade' (3:43) is short track with energetic beats, running in relatively fast tempo, combining the style of Gabriel era Genesis with ELP. Through this fast tempo track I can see how each musician contributes brilliantly to the music. The drums run dynamically throughout the song, making a fast beat for inventive keyboard work, guitar, bass as well as vocal. You may compare how the vocalist sings with Gabriel. The guitar solo is stunning and it sounds very 70s! It's not played like Hackett but it's really great!

'The Chosen One' (5:44) is another excellent track with great acoustic guitar, keyboard and vocal work at the opening part. I did influence my friends on facebook by posting a link of youtube of this track. Some of them comment that the music is quite Genesis - like Cinema Show. But I think the opening part of this track is similar (in nuance) with Steve Hackett solo album, not with Genesis. But when the music performs its full instruments with bass guitar and drums, I can see the sound of Genesis combined with Patrick Moraz solo in Yes.

'Moon Mountain' (2:33) is a great instrumental with classical nuance using acoustic guitar combined with electric guitar. It's excellent how the solo moves from acoustic to electric guitar. Brilliant!

'As The River Runs' (10:40) starts with an ambient nuance followed with catchy keyboard solo combined with organ and guitar fills. It's a very nice solo and it reminds me to the music of The Flower Kings, especially when the drums enter in marching style combined with mellotron sound at background. I am sure you like this opening part and this song as a whole. When the music breaks with repeated guitar fills, it reminds me to early King Crimson - something like 'Starless'. It's very nice! Especially when the vocal enters in register notes. Oh my God .. I love this track. Especially on the inventive piano solo that starts at 4:12. it's truly GREAT!!! When this part is playing, I kind like sing 'My mind is clear now ..' from Jesus Christ Superstar. After the great piano solo it continues with great keyboard work accompanied with complex arrangement combining bass guitar and drums. I think Genesis members must listen to this song...and I think this was what Genesis ought to do after Hackett left the band! The later part of this song contains great multi-layered keyboard / synthesizer work combined with guitar solo. It reminds me to ELP even though mostly dominated by early Genesis style.

'Your Future' (0:29) is just a computerized acapela followed beautifully with an excellent instrumental 'Strawberry Jam' (2:32). The opening bass guitar work is really solid and dynamic, combined with dazzling drumwork. The instrumental goes in fast tempo with guitar solo and inventive bass guitar and drum as the main attraction point.

'Circles End' (6:19) starts beautifully with guitar fills and vocal in low register notes followed with acoustic guitar work backed with nice keyboard with flute sound. When the mellotron enters, it creates a great musical nuances. Even though the melody is different, this song reminds me to Genesis' 'Entangled' from 'A Trick of The Tail' album while the vocal sounds like Gabriel. You might imagine Gabriel sings 'Entangled'. The part that sounds similar like Entangled starts at minutes 3:20 especially on the acoustic guitar work as well as the keyboard.

'Brother Where You Bound' (26:33) reminds me to Genesis' Supper's Ready even though this one by Simon Says starts with the full blast of music, not with acoustic one like in Supper's Ready. This epic runs nicely from opening until end with many changes of style throughout the song. The song is special to me because I do not feel of getting bored from start to end because everything moves nicely and smoothly. The keyboard work reminds me to Tony Banks but sometimes to Keith Emerson. Surprisingly, in this epic there is a shot of Hammond organ that reminds me to the music of Procol Harum at minutes 5:50. If you have prog head and prog heart, I believe that you would love this epic!

'Beautiful New Day' (0:43) concludes the album with acoustic guitar and vocal.

So, what do you think? Do you think I am exaggerating the review? Do you think I am overrating it? It's up to you to decide whether or not to have this album. The only thing I can guarantee you is that this album is definitely not a less than four stars! For me, it's more than four stars because the composition is truly brilliant!

Tardigrade is much better than any Three-Piece Genesis albums (you name it!). In fact, it's at par excellent as A Trick of The Tail or even Foxtrot. Try it out!

Keep on proggin'.....!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars That's a neat trick, to start with their strongest melody piece. Action starts instantly, without spare second to prepare and lasts for more than minute. Ecstasy is multiplied by number many (it's number, believe me, MARTY SAYS) and repeats few times through the song. I'll call it bridge. Then spoken parts that connects them and to it all are thrown solos. I'm not sure which one of them is the best. And it's just first song.

There is also story (always raises morale). Unfortunately, other songs slightly, but visibly loses, but still, it forms pretty strong album. Maybe more listens will make a change, good or bad one. This way, I see it on

5(-), very important (pers...)album. Also, is it just me who mentioned this, or do their singer has quite strange voice ? Good one, I like it, but his vocals register seems to be not so wide.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Simon Says has a third album that is soaked with inspiration from classic symphonic progressive rock bands, most notably Yes. There is one major difference- the lead vocalist Daniel Fäldt sounds nothing like the symphonic heroes of the field- no second-rate Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson epigones here. The vocalist has a deep tone, but reaches into the higher registers with an unnatural falsetto that despite the judgment a first impression may render, really fits and is welcome in its uniqueness. On the other hand, the guitarist Jonas Hallberg could easily be Steve Howe's Benoit David, with those characteristic swells, octave leads, rapid picking, and little distortion on the guitar. This is recommended for all, but especially for fans of Yes, The Flower Kings, Wobbler, Spock's Beard, and ELP's Trilogy.

"Suddenly The Rain" Sturdy symphonic progressive rock comes blasting through the speakers from the first moment. A saturated organ forms the basis for the first vocal section. The refrain is outstanding, and serves as a sweetly memorable delight almost directly from the outset. The latter half of the lengthy instrumental section is a Bolero of sorts, with steady marching drums and sinister synthesizers. The following guitar lead is extremely tasteful, allowing the rest of the music to dictate its direction. For a variety of reasons, "Suddenly the Rain" reminds me of Yes's Going for the One. Though the band offered their best piece at the outset, the quality doesn't henceforth decline.

"Tardigrade" The title track is one of the shortest musical chimeras ever, and played at a lightning-fast speed. While initially I felt the segments themselves seemed forced together, and the vocal melody didn't go with the music much at all, the guitar and organ fuse the bits together as best as they can, and after subsequent listens, it seems more natural.

"The Chosen One" Acoustic guitar and vocals begin this gentler one, a much needed contrast after the heavier fare of before. Velvety Mellotron backs it all up, and a sugary sweet synthesizer serves as the precursor for the fullness of the rest of the band. Once again, powerful organ is the main rhythm instrument.

"Moon Mountain" This is a brief duet played on the classical guitar and electric guitar.

"As The River Runs" Minimalistic synthetic sounds make up the beginning of this one, and various instruments trickle in over time, creating a polyphonic effect. Soon, a static drum and guitar tick along while the Mellotron handles the chords and the singer moans over it all. A piano section reminiscent of the part just after the quiet vocal section on ELP's "Trilogy" serves as the transition to heavy drumming, guitar through a wah-pedal and fancy synthesizer. The soft section that follows has something of a Van der Graaf Generator feel, with somewhat dramatic vocals over piano, guitar, and bass, and then it's back to the Yes feeling, with slide guitar and a wicked synthesizer lead. The band throws in some organ soloing and completes this fascinating progressive rock journey.

"Your Future" This is an interlude with a vocal fed through a Vocoder.

"Strawberry Jam" Frantic drumming and bass work introduce a wild ride of electric guitar and synthesizer. A bulbous bass solo concludes this short instrumental.

"Circles End" A dark acoustic guitar and subdued vocal makes up the beginning here. Mellotron, whistling synthesizer, and electric piano add a fuller dimension to this downcast but eloquent piece. This is a welcome respite from the robust and busy music that dominates this album.

"Brother Where You Bound" No, this is not related to the Supertramp song by the same name (I checked). The vocals and heavy instrumentation begin immediately- one cannot accuse this band for pussyfooting around, as they often get right into the meat of their work. One of the musical themes is very similar to a motif in the Yes song "Yours is No Disgrace." Like the opener, this song has an excellent and memorable refrain. The rolling synthesizer lead, as well as more low-key, um, keys, is perhaps the highlight of this very extended piece, which focuses more on the instrumental prowess of the band. No doubt this song will take more than a few listens to digest, but the band throws the hearer several lifelines in the form of memorable hooks and captivating charm at every corner.

"Beautiful New Day" Like Jethro Tull's "Grace" from their wonderful album Minstrel in the Gallery, Simon Says tacks on postlude, as it were, made up of acoustic guitar and vocals, which clocks in at under a minute.

Review by Gerinski
4 stars This album is like a compilation of the complete history of traditional symphonic prog. It clearly honours the classics, most notably Yes and Trick of the Tail / Wind and Wuthering-period Genesis and occasionally ELP or GG, it also shows Neo influences mostly IQ and Wrightson- period Arena, and finally what it mostly is is post-neo symphonic in the style of Neal Morse (with or without SB), The Flower Kings, Karmakanic, Transatlantic etc.

The only critizable point is the lack of originality, but for all the rest "very good at everything though not really outstanding at anything" seems to be my constant evaluation of each aspect in this album. The compositions are all consistently strong without any moments which feel as filler, but none of them deserves the masterpiece status. All the guys play their instruments very competently but none stands out as a true virtuoso. The voice timbre of Daniel Faldt is equally not particularly special but he sings well and it works.

The sci-fi concept is good enough but I will not explain it here, you can read it in full in their website The production is also good, and they use a wide palette of keyboard and guitar timbres so the sound never gets monotonous, although they constantly remind us of one or another prog fragment we have heard before. The music style is accessible but complex enough, melodic, generally energetic but they do not forget calmer moments and as a whole the album achieves a good dynamical pattern.

The two "plats de resistance" are surely the two longest tracks, the opener "Suddenly the Rain" sets things clear from the start being a great song with all what a traditional prog fan loves, and the 26 minutes suite "Brother Where You Bound" is also strong, but the shorter tracks are no less good, including the beautiful acoustic and electric guitar duet in "Moon Mountain".

A very enjoyable album in every respect although if fails to give that "wow factor" of the true masterpieces, highly recommendable to lovers of modern and yet traditional symphonic, but it may disappoint those who seek innovation and uniqueness.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Symphonic prog from Sweden very much attempting to replicate the sounds and styles of the Masters of the 1970s.

1. "Suddenly The Rain" (14:47) very solid retro symphonic prog; it's quite original despite the frequent reminders of early Genesis--with solid performances all around and really no weaknesses. (27/30)

2. "Tardigrade" (3:43) vocalist Daniel Fäldt has such an unusual singing style--kind of like Donald Fagen trying to sing Gentle Giant. The instrumental skills on display are superlative--with the Hammond performed especially tastefully--and these boys are tight: hitting those stops and turns with the integrity of a BMW or Volvo. (9/10)

3. "The Chosen One" (5:44) opens as a beautiful, emotional soft song with excellent use of the Mellotron, but at the end of the second minute it kicks into high gear like a KANSAS, YES, or THE FLOWER KINGS song. Great variation and embellishment from the keyboards. Excellent Chris Squire-like bass play. (9/10)

4. "Moon Mountain" (2:33) opens with some excellent solo classical guitar before electric joins as a duet at 0:40. Sounds like something Jan Akkerman, Steve Howe, or Chet Atkins would do. Excellent! (4.75/5)

5. "As The River Runs" (10:40) I quite like this despite the obviousness of the first half being a "modern" reflection of GENESIS' "Watcher in the Skies" (a song I've never liked much). There's just so much embellishment and tangential in this to make it all its own. Plus, the musicianship and sound engineering are so solid. (18.25/20)

6. "Your Future" (0:29) a surprisingly wonderful little melodic and mellow solo vocoder piece. (5/5)

7. "Strawberry Jam" (2:32) like a high speed intro to something. For the first 45 seconds the rhythm section is on fire. The lead guitarist and flanged bass really burn it up over the final 30. (4.5/5)

8. "Circle's End" (6:19) acoustic guitars, vocal, flute, and Mellotron give this melodic song a bit of a MOODY BLUES feel. Excellent acoustic guitar work, picking and strumming. The synthesizer solo in the fourth minute is quite reminiscent/imitative of Tony Bank's solo in "Stagnation," but then it turns "Entangled" in the fifth and sixth. The vocal is sparse but very confident and tastefully done. (9.25/10)

9. "Brother Where You Bound" (26:33) (45.75/50)

10. "Beautiful New Day" (0:43) more multi-acoustic guitar strumming over which Daniel gives us a John Paul Jones-like finish. (4.5/5)

Total Time: 74:11

Though I could appreciate what the artists were attempting to do from the first listen, it took me many listens in order to begin to enjoy this album. Kind of like all NEMO albums. I found the vocals especially difficult to adjust to. It was actually their much more accessible song contributions to the Colossus Magazine/Musea Records theme projects that allowed me to begin to engage and enjoy the style and work of this band.

3/8/2023 edit: I've finally made the time to sit down and really listen, really get to know this album and I have to say that all of my previous judgements were premature: this is a true masterpiece of retro symphonic progressive rock music, albeit of the retro/imitative kind. Though early Genesis and, to a lesser extent, Yes are the models for the music and individual styles on this album, the compositions are quite unique, sophisticated, performed at consistently high levels, and admirably well-engineered. I now consider this an overlooked, misunderstood masterpiece from our not-too-distant past. And I now feel remiss that I did not "get" Daniel Fäldt before: he's so confident and laid-back; it really takes guts to sing like that--and to compose the way these guys did--knowing the demands they were putting on their instrumental skills.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of symphonic progressive rock music. Highly recommend to all prog lovers with the requirement that you give this multiple listens.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars Back in 1995 I was sent two albums to review that had been released on a small Swedish label called Bishop Garden Records ? the first of these was 'Every Pixie Tells a Story' by The Moor, and the second 'Ceinwein' by Simon Says. Stefan Renström was the link between the two bands as he was the bassist for the former and was the leader of the second providing all of the music (originally Simon Says were going to be primarily a duo of Stefan and singer Daniel Fäldt). I gave the album a rave review, loving the mix of Seventies and Eighties prog and the way that it moved ? in fact I said "In my opinion 'Ceinwein' is one of the top albums to come out of Scandinavia this year".

So of course, in the parallel universe the band sold millions and became household names, but in this rather more boring reality they split up. Stefan stayed with The Moor, touring Europe, and then in 2001 he contacted Daniel saying that he wanted to get Simon Says going again. They quickly got a band together and recorded 'Paradise Square', which was released on Galileo Records in 2002 (which I haven't heard) but again the band was shelved. It is hard to find out information on the band and what has been going as neither of their websites have been updated in a number of years and that is a crying shame as this new album is nothing short of brilliant.

This is music that belongs in the Seventies, but it is very much of the present as well. Keyboards can be dominant, or just piano, guitars can be overpowering or non-existent. It has swathes of mellotron and Hackett/Howe guitars with wonderful vocals. Imagine Genesis and Yes moved in a time machine from thirty years ago to now, and then were allowed just enough time to hear what was going on and to get used to modern equipment and then thrown into a studio with Derek Shulman to record an album, and this is what you get. This is a prog lover's dream ? and every home should have this CD. What concerns me is that this band appear to have dropped off the radar again since this release and that is nothing short of criminal ? this is the sort of music that got me involved with the genre in the first place. Modern progheads need bands like these.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 stars for sure

Third album of this discret band from Sweden from 2008 named Tardigrade is a great follow up of Paradise square. Another 6 years gone until Simon Says released a new album. To me this is better then previous work, the passages and the overall arrangements are more intresting and mature. Great musicianship as before with plenty of great interplays between musicians, specially the keyboards are fantastic here. Long album clocking around 75 min with long instrumental passages, well performed and played in a pure symphonic prog tradition. Suddenly The Rain and the longest track Brother Where You Bound who has over 25 min are the best from this album, beautiful passages quite complex but yet accesibele most of the time. Little better then previous works but again doesn't fully impress me as other symphonic prog works let's sat from thet period. fans of Spock's beard, Transatlantic, The Flower Kings can easely love this band. 3.5 stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Turgid symphonic retro-prog from Sweden, Simon Says' Tardigrade is a concept album telling some sort of oblique story about the titular character - though how often in retro-prog has the concept actually mattered much, or even made sense? Flashy guitars and keyboard and technical flourishes are piled on top of each other, but the album feels like it lacks a certain something. The musical partnership of Stefan Renstr'm and Daniel F'ldt would face constant delays in getting the trilogy of concept albums of which this is a part out into the wild, so if you liked the earlier two albums you may as well get this one, but for my part it doesn't quite stand out from the likes of Flower Kings, Spock's Beard or Karmakanic.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is a differently-sounding beast from 2002's Paradise Square. It's all retro-prog, but while Paradise was retro in almost every aspect, Tardigrade is an example of prog with modern touches. This one is much more denser and bombastic, as if they suddenly got a hold on equipment from the fut ... (read more)

Report this review (#990383) | Posted by Progrussia | Monday, July 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A pretty long lasting record, but in this case, it wasn't too long. Tardigrade is the Swedish band's third and most recent record. It was released five years ago. I don't know if the band exists anymore but hope they'll come back with another record soon. This was an honest and interesting form o ... (read more)

Report this review (#958635) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, May 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A passage in Macan's 'Rocking the Classics' compares the complex quality of Rick Wakeman's solo albums with those he contributed to as keyboardist for Yes. The former albums, Macan suggests, display Wakeman's impressive technical skills across a wide range of keyboards but ultimately, , "there ... (read more)

Report this review (#600821) | Posted by Kiwi1 | Sunday, January 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my opinion SIMON SAYS "Tardigrade" is one of the best (if no the best) symphonic-prog disks of the year of 2008. Obiviously influenced by bands as THE FLOWER KING'S, SPOCK'S BEARD, however paying the due tribute to the monsters of the prog of the 70"s, like, YES, GENESIS, GENTLE GIANT, EM ... (read more)

Report this review (#289003) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, July 3, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ****1/2 I guess. Why to complicate to go nowhere? Let SIMON SAYS be 'comfortable' with tested and approved prog archetypes. Remind that to goal a pretty convincing and tasteful musical level by their 70's matrix YES, GENESIS (also STEVE HACKETT solo albuns ala "Everyday" and "Camino Royale" dynamic ... (read more)

Report this review (#218809) | Posted by Prog_Veteran | Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 Flowe ... (read more)

Report this review (#192629) | Posted by infandous | Thursday, December 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Nowadays is so difficult to find creative prog rock. To much bands experimentating with the old inffluences and much of them their musicians are not good,or the recording is not good or the arrengements or a bad technology. This album of Simon Says and the band too is strongly inffluenced by ... (read more)

Report this review (#192554) | Posted by robbob | Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I like this album very much. It makes me think of Magic Pie's masterpiece Circus of Life. You hear some Genesis alike sounds (Circles end), great varied guitar work, nice keys, perfect bass and a pleasant voice. It is an album thet grows every time you listen to it. ... (read more)

Report this review (#175386) | Posted by Sander | Thursday, June 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tardigrade is Sweden's Simon Says 3rd album spanning the last 13 years. I have not heard the other two but found this to be a very good disc. Fans of The Flower Kings will enjoy this but I would put the feel of this album more in line with Magic Pie. This doesn't have the all out sonic assault ... (read more)

Report this review (#171968) | Posted by johnobvious | Thursday, May 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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