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Moon Safari - Himlabacken Vol. 1 CD (album) cover

HIMLABACKEN VOL. 1

Moon Safari

 

Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 296 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cheesecake
4 stars Himlabacken Volume 1 is the fourth full length release from the Swedish Moon Safari and a continuation of the style heard on their 2010 release Lover's End. Long story short: if you liked that album, you can safely buy this one.

Now for the long version. While Lover's End was a story about heartbreak, Himlabacken (which roughly translates as 'heaven hill') continues down that road for a while, but it is also more of a nostalgic album. This is immediately apparent on the first track, Kids. It serves as an introduction to the album as a whole with typical Moon Safari close harmony singing (think Constant Bloom, Southern Belle).

Too Young To Say Goodbye kicks off with a staccato piano and guitar riff and a guitar solo. The drumming on this track is great, and the chorus is incredibly catchy. In that sense, it is quite a poppy song, but this is by no means a bad thing! Moon Safari as we know and love it.

Mega Moon is a song about stealing the moon for a romantic interest. The lyrics are beautiful and poetic, and it starts off in typical Moon Safari fashion. The beginning sounds like it could be something from a musical. Next is an interesting, almost opera-like section, followed by a heavier, Gentle Giant-esque section. This is followed by a galloping section led by a synthesizer melody, followed by the recurring main theme, but with an interesting vocal twist. A very interesting track; familiar in a way, but also new ground for Moon Safari.

Barfly starts a little heavy, but soon moves into familiar ground. It's a song about drinking, and lyrically reminiscent of Lover's End. It features some fantastic guitar playing by Pontus Åkesson, and the 'Don't bring me down' melody is simply beautiful.

Red White Blues is a bit more mellow, but has some very strong moments. It has an anthemic feeling about it, again like something out of a musical. A slow, but pretty song.

My Little Man is an acoustic song written by Pontus Åkesson. It sounds like George Harisson, and the lyrics tell about a proud father's love for his child.

Diamonds starts with a piano riff reminiscent of Yasgur's Farm. Where the previous songs sounded a bit like the material on Lover's End, this sounds more like their 2008 album Blomljud. The lyrics are nostalgic, speaking of things that are lost 'in this modern trance', and the happiness that lies in relatively simple life. The 'Oh, how I wished I'd be like him / free from a world that's speeding' lines sound as if they could have been a piece of classical music. There is some fantastic interplay between the keyboards and the guitar, topped of with a synth solo.

Sugar Band, again, starts with some beautiful piano playing. The lyrics are, as the title suggest, sugar sweet and speak of candyland and unicorns and how to cure 'the blues'. The first part of the song is quite dramatic, but halfway it switches gear and becomes a typical up- tempo Moon Safari song with some great synth and guitar work. A great closer to the album.

All in all, this is pretty much Moon Safari like we know it, with a few surprise tracks like Mega Moon and Sugar Band. If you have heard their previous releases, you will know what to expect: incredible close harmony singing, fantastic songwriting, some great guitar solo's and poetic lyrics. The members are all masters of their instrument and know how to write a good song.

Himlabacken Volume 1 is an excellent addition to any music collection, and among the best things Moon Safari have ever done.

Cheesecake | 4/5 |

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