Simeon Soul Charger - 'Harmony Square' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/85/dc/6f/3389_simeonsoulchargerharmonysquare_1362528113.jpg Hot

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A distinctive take on the progressive concept.

Described as a psychedelic rock opus that has been some two years in the making ‘Harmony Square’ is a weighty concept that demands close attention. The protagonist finds himself in Harmony Square, a marketplace of a secluded village and we follow his experiences, both good and bad, as the inhabitants’ rail against oppression and shameless exploitation. After such a build-up you will by now have deduced that Simeon Soul Charger are very much from the psych-prog rock genre, being a North American quartet who have spent two years in the Munich region, touring with the likes of DAD and Stefan Detti and playing more than 100 gigs on the German live scene. Debut full length release ‘Meet Me In The Afterlife’ from 2011 was welcomed with much excitement and acclaim and they have certainly succeeded in carving out their own unique musical landscape.

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With their roots in early 70’s stoner scene and a considerable latter period Beatles influence (in particular ‘Sgt Pepper’, ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and ‘The White Album’) there is a real pot pourri of styles and sounds in evidence here. Such scope and diversity ensures that there is depth, power and presence and they invite the listener to use ones imagination in bringing to life the lyrical themes and concepts that will mean different things to different people.

Renaissance inspired acoustic guitars and a dramatic use of strings usher in the opening ‘Overture’ that sets the scene for much of what is to follow. Simeon Soul Charger are clearly an accomplished bunch of musicians and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Aaron Brooks has a warm and rich delivery reminiscent of Neal Morse on the early Spock’s Beard albums. Strong melodies and smooth harmonies ebb and flow across ‘Babylon Grove’, ‘The Devil’s Rhapsody’ and ‘The Advent of Awakening’ and the jumbled arrangements ensure that there are many changes in atmosphere, mood and emotion. Whilst there are fifteen separate tracks they are all linked together to provide one coherent piece.

For many this will not prove to be easily digestible although ‘Harmony Square’ offers a distinctive take on the progressive concept and the band are to be admired for their undeniable originality.

Dean Pedley

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