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Simeon Soul Charger - 2012 - "Harmony Square"

(67:24, Gentle Art of Music)


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TRACK LIST:

1.  Overture 3:29
2.  Babylon Grove 5:31
3.  All's Fair in Harmony Square 6:02
4.  Ms. Donce 3:14
5.  Spinning Across the Grass 2:29
6.  Doris 2:12
7.  Oh What a Beastly Boy 3:18
8.  The Piper's Prize 2:41
9.  The Devil's Rhapsody 5:20
10. The Changing Wind and Reign 6:11
11. The Advent of Awakening 6:21
12. King Charles Norman's Castle 8:01
13. See Sharp 2:55
14. Rayoweith's Guillotine / A Gift from the Sky 3:43
15. Ashes 5:57

LINEUP:

Aaron Brooks  vocals; guitars; piano; kalimba
Rick Phillips  guitars, mandolin; vocals
Joe Kidd  drums, percussion; vocals
Spider Monkey  bass; vocals

Prolusion. The US quartet SIMEON SOUL CHARGER was formed in 2008, and released two initial EPs in quick succession following the formation. Then they signed to the German label Gentle Art of Music, which released their debut album "Meet Me in the Afterlife" in 2011 as well as their most recent production "Harmony Square" from September 2012.

Analysis. Simeon Soul Charger is one of those bands that sound familiar right from the get go. You start listening to the music, and there's a whole plethora of details you just know you have encountered somewhere earlier. It's not a case of a specific style replicated, at least not to such an extent that it's easy to trace the origins, but there's a general feeling of familiarity present from the onset that will get the attentive listener digging through the memory banks to try to uncover it. The gentler parts of this band's escapades have quite a lot of The Beatles about them. Song structure to some extent, but instrumentation and arrangements for instruments and vocals both indicate an intimate knowledge about the works of Liverpool's fab four as present in the minds of the members of Simeon Soul Charger. This aspect of their repertoire is strongest early on, and as this 15 part suite develops we're treated to a number of different impressions too, mind you. Darker tinged passages with a closer resemblance to the likes of Black Sabbath make occasional appearances, and in a beautiful mid-section part of the suite Pink Floyd fans will find lots to enjoy from Spinning Across the Grass and onwards. Those generally fond of psychedelic rock will find this album overall to be a tantalizing experience, as both subtle and flamboyant use of psychedelic instrument details is something of a key element throughout. As are instrument details with a folk music origin mind you, and Jethro Tull fans will find a few treats thrown their way as well. As will those who enjoy The Who I guess. Add in occasional complex vocal arrangements in the style of Gentle Giant and a lead vocalist with a voice not light years away from Radiohead's Thom Yorke in tone and delivery, and I think most bases have been covered as far as my own associations are concerned. An amalgam of a lot of details, assembled in a stew that has a certain late 60's or early 70's tinge to it more than anything else and where the word psychedelic needs to be mentioned. But between all the possible references and associations that come natural with this creation, there's no denying that it's an enjoyable one either. Charming and likable from the first spin, and the charm stays on also on repeated inspections. One might also mention that this is a concept album, although following the above description that little tidbit shouldn't come as a surprise I guess.

Conclusion. Simeon Soul Charger's second album "Harmony Square" is an album that should appeal broadly. Fans of progressive rock and classic rock both should find lots to enjoy here, and in particular those amongst them with a soft spot for psychedelic flavored music. If a general description such as retro-oriented concept album with a foundation in late 60's to early 70's psychedelic progressive rock sounds intriguing, you are most likely a part of the core audience for this fine band.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 15, 2013
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Gentle Art of Music Records
Simeon Soul Charger


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