"Paradise Square" (Galileo Records; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

It should be noted that this Simon Says hail from Sweden and is not to be confused with the American band also named Simon Says that made some inroads in American radio markets with rare positive messages in the late '90s with hardcore-lite/tough pop-punk sound. This Simon Says play progressive rock with a touch of symphonic rock thrown in for good measure. This is music that is in the vein of Kansas and Yes. I admit that I wasn't too crazy about the previous Galileo Records releases that I'd reviewed (Scythe) or listened to (T) so my hopes were not up for Simon Says' "Paradise Square." However, Simon Says' "Paradise Square" is easily the best of the three CDs that I've heard from Galileo Records so far.

As mentioned before, the music is prog rock with a bit of symphonic rock. However, I hear a little Steely Dan flavored jazz as well along with Pink Floyd-like soundscapes adding another dimension to the music. The music is at all times very interesting even if it doesn’t get my blood pumping. It has complex layers and supple subtle moments that add many dimensions to the musical experience without being overbearing.

"Paradise Square" tells the story of Simon who manages through his troubles although he contemplates suicide and the greater forces that play out in our lives. However, I must tell you, the story is vague enough for each listener to project their own meanings on to the songs.

Fans of Kansas, Yes, Genesis, Magellan, Explorer's Club, The Flower Kings, and Pallas will find Simon Says' "Paradise Square" a good listen.

Kudos to Galileo Records for giving bands like Simon Says a chance to record their music.

Simon Says: Daniel Faldt on vocals and sitar, Jonas Helberg on guitars and backing vocals, Stefan Renstrom on bass and keyboards, and Mattias Jarlhed on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:21 -0400 .