Wah ,….saya seneng sekali hari gini masih ada musik yang warnanya seperti musik prog 70an ala Genesis, ELP … Ini band Swedia yang dahzyat sekali! Sialakan simak review saya yang puanjaaaaaaang pol ini:
Simon Says Symphonic ProgReview by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator
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
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
- Magnus Paulsson / keyboards
- Jonas Hallberg / guitars, percussion
- Matti Jarlhed / drums, percussion b-vox
- Stefan Renström / basses, keyboards, vocoder