SIMO’s last year’s release ‘Let Love Show The Way’ was one of my favourite blues rock albums of 2016. I also saw them live at Bospop that year and talked to guitar picker and singer JD Simo about that spectacular album. Now only a year later SIMO release their third studio album called ‘Rise & Shine’ and if you loved and cherished their previous album you might be in for a shock…. If you hear this new album for the first time, you might think, just as yours truly, what the f……. as ‘Rise & Shine’ is completely different than anything the band has ever recorded before. ‘Rise & Shine’ is a daring, brave and very ambitious album, which consists of 11 tracks and it will certainly appeal to people who like The Doors, Clapton, Hendrix, Prince and Lenny Kravitz! This album is filled with slow, mid-tempo smoky soul ballads, psychedelic hard rock tracks and funky, sleazy rockers, which will blow you away after listening to this remarkable album a couple of times. ‘Rise & Shine’ kicks off with ,,Return”, a raw and funky song, followed by ,,Meditation” and ,,Shine”, which is a soul infused rock track with rather distorted guitar work. ,,People Say” is again extremely funky but also features some hard rock characteristics. However the first ,,shock” for listeners will be the utterly soul-like ballad ,,I Want Love”, which you have to listen to a couple of times to really appreciate, or not…… ,,The Climb’’ is a short experimental instrumental song followed by one of the highlights of this album called ,,Light The Candle”. That one is a blues rock epic filled with lots of musical experimentation and improvisation and it sometimes reminds me of the good old Allman Brothers or Outlaws; a stunning guitar track that clocks over seven minutes! ,,Be With You” also clocks over 7 minutes but is completely different, as this one is a psychedelic track and ,,Be With You” definitely brings back memories of the legendary Doors. Then SIMO comes up with an utterly boring acoustic ballad called ,,The Light” and I have to admit that every time I listen to this amazing album I skip that one….. not my cup of tea!! The album ends with another highlight namely the fourteen minutes prog monster ,,I Pray”, a mix of rock, prog, metal, blues, jazz and fusion and an absolute masterpiece of SIMO.
As I already said before you have to listen to this album a couple of times to appreciate and like it, but then you will absolutely love it; ‘Rise & Shine’ is an emotional, energetic, brave album which certainly belongs to one of the best releases of this year. Listen, weep, love and cherish this fabulous new SIMO album; highly recommended!!