Simon Says - Paradise Square

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Galileo Records
Catalog Number: GR007
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:26:00

Every now and then an unknown artist or band steps out of the obscurity and delivers a truly magnificent album. It happened with Mangala Vallis, it happened with Grand Stand, it happened with the Watch and this time it's time for Simon Says. Having released their debut album Ceinwen several years ago (it was released in 1995 on the Bishop Garde Records label), our Swedish friends surely have delivered their masterpiece by means of the follow-up Paradise Square. Opener "And By The Water" certainly holds strong Genesis references which continue throughout the title track as well. The Mellotron parts, in conjunction with nice piano, really deliver an incredibly powerful result. Here and there some elements from the household of Cross or Galleon pop up, yet the result of Simon Says is much more symphonic, more "vintage" prog. The final part of the title track even contains some experimental passages I would associate with bands such as White Willow or Valinor's Tree. Breathtaking!

Dark, slow guitar sounds form the perfect counterpoint for the melodic synths during the intro for "Striking Out A Single Note For Love." Here for the first time it becomes obvious that Paradise Square is a concept album as various atmospheres and sounds enter this song. To me "Fly In A Bottle" is Simon Says' very own "Private Investigations" which hopefully says enough about the inclusion of classical guitar here. Simon Says takes a trip to India when sitar introduces "Darkfall." A good balance between acoustic [guitar] and keyboards occupies the first part of the lengthy "White Glove" leading towards Wind And Wuthering-era Genesis. "Aftermath" not only wraps up the story but kind of delivers a musical end result as well, once again delving deep into the rich colours of the keyboards in order to deliver yet another unique statement containing a slight hint of Happy the Man. Surely Simon Says has taken a BIG step forward with this Paradise Square leaving the humble beginnings of Ceinwen far behind. It not only puts the band in the picture it also establishes the Galileo label as a label of quality where each release deserves a thorough examination.

And By The Water (4:45) / Paradise Square (13:42) / Striking Out A Single Note For Love (11:08) / Fly In A Bottle (5:48) / Darkfall (2:35) / White Glove (15:26) / Aftermath (10:02)

Matias Jarlhed - percussion
Jonas Hallberg - guitars, backing vocals Daniel Fäldt - vocals, sitar
Stefan Renström - bass, keyboards, vocals

Ceinwen (1995)
Paradise Square (2002)
Tardigrade (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: September 8th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 475
Language: english


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