Escape Music [Release date 14.08.20]
Bit of a musical curio in Simon Says, a band who hail from Greenfield Park, Quebec, Canada and were formed from the ashes of Spectrum and Rawx. ‘Spin This’ was originally released back in 1991, it is now getting a full release with six added songs and a limited run of a 1,000 copies, plus a new cover (which having seen the original is certainly a big improvement) and remastering.
Simon Says consisted of vocalist Johnny Zatylny, bass player Wayne Higgins, rhythm guitarist Tim Higgins, lead guitarist Darryl Stevens, drummer Al Knight and Matt Coull on keyboards. The producer was April Wine’s Gary Moffet, which would have helped them gain a little bit of recognition back in the day.
Three of the band – Zatylny, Knight and Coull – went on to form part of a leading Canadian Queen tribute band, Queen Flash. Johnny Zatylny is definitely a talented and powerful singer, as the tear jerker ballad ‘When I See You Standing There’ proves. Not much of a Queen sound in Simon Says, bar the band’s love of using lots of vocal harmonies.
‘The One’ and ‘The Promise’ (lovely bit of Hammond playing on this one) have a bigger sound, the latter recalling U2 or Simple Minds. Given airplay back in the day these two songs would have become radio staples.
‘Why In The World’ is one in the Starship mould, plenty of vocal harmonies and keys. ‘Let Me Know’ and ‘Love Thing’ are immense slabs of top quality melodic rock, full of lush harmonies, layers of keys and chugging guitar riffs. Wonderful on the old ears!
Simon Says appear to be another band who got lost in the upsurge of all things grunge back in the early 90’s. ‘Spin This’ is one for fans and collectors of 80s influenced melodic rock/AOR. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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