The opening, near 15-minute "Suddenly the Rain", is a tour-de-force of symphonic prog bliss, filled with searing synths & Mellotron, tasty lead guitar lines, and the expressive vocals of Daniel Feldt. The title track is a short, bouncy number with a strong Yes as well as Gentle Giant flavor, yet also reminds a little bit of the The Flower Kings, with Jonas Hallberg's biting guitar licks taking charge over complex arrangements, while "The Chosen One" starts off as a lush, pastoral piece that reminds of mid-70's Genesis with plenty of haunting Mellotron and Moog, before jangly Flower Kings' styled guitar and synth passages come roaring into play. The Mellotron again plays an important role in the near 11-minute "As The River Runs", a piece that also has some gorgeous piano, acoustic guitar, and some lean & muscular bass lines from Stefan Renstrom. Truly a wonderful song that keeps building and building to a dramatic conclusion, and kudos must go out to keyboard player Magnus Paulsson and guitarist Hallberg, both of whom put in killer performances on this one.
The short instrumental "Strawberry Jam" is a hot fusion rocker, with Hallberg's searing rock guitar licks leading the charge over Paulsson's raging Hammond, Renstrom's wah-wah bass lines, and the busy drum work of Mattias Jarlhed. Feldt sounds a tad like Fish on the dreamy "Circle's End", a folky number littered with acoustic guitars, Mellotron and flutes, and the 26-minute "Brother Where You Bound" is as epic a statement as you can get. Again, Paulsson is the 'man' here, offering up plenty of Moog, Mellotron, Vocodor, and Hammond tones throughout, giving this song a definite 70's feel in every way. Featuring no shortage of bombast, you can also look for some calmer, folky segments, as well as passages for the musicians to stretch out and solo.
In an age where many prog acts try to outdo each other and see who can put together the most epic statement (which doesn't always work by the way) Tardigrade is a pleasant surprise, an album filled with bombast and pomp that doesn't wear out its welcome before the last song has finished. Instead, Simon Says have given us a lot of what we loved about the 70's, and then some. Well done!
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)
- Daniel Fäldt / vocals
- Magnus Paulsson / keyboards
- Jonas Hallberg / guitars, percussion
- Matti Jarlhed / drums, percussion b-vox
- Stefan Renström / basses, keyboards, vocoder
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