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

HIMLABACKEN VOL. 1

Moon Safari

 

Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 298 ratings

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Nrwhmr
5 stars Okay, let's start by getting the "tag" issue out of the way. Is this progressive rock? I would say "yes" but it doesn't matter what the genre is. Simply file under the category, great timeless music. If you feel the need to pigeon hole, then the line from "Sugar Band", "could it be that what you see says more of you than it ever could of me" probably applies to you. Like "Lovers End Part III", "Himlabacken Volume One" has its inspiraton in the band's home town of Skellefteň. Himlabacken is the Heaven Hill referred to in the opening track "Kids", which sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the album, with its trademark harmonies and reflective lyrics. "Too Young to Say Goodbye" is up next, a real casserole of styles with elements of Springsteen, Yes & AOR. Above all though the dominant flavour is the classic Moon Safari upbeat feel. A song so catchy in the best possible sense of the word that you don't mind that you just can't get it out of your head! Even then there's a classic MS twist as the song fades on some beautiful Simon ┼kesson piano This fine start does not, however, prepare for the literally astonishing "Mega Moon". It took me around 8 listens of this track before I stopped being surprised by what I heard. It's the simply everyday story of a man who climbed Heaven Hill to steal the moon for his love and found himself on trial for this "crime". Astonishing harmonies, even by the standard of this band, and enough changes in mood and tempo to satisfy the most ardent progger, "Mega Moon" is another great example of what separates this band from the pack: they attempt and pull off, with incredible ease, that which many would not even attempt. "Barfly" is track 4 and starts on a heavy guitar riff as if to underline again that this is a band that are not content to simply follow the same path. As the song develops, it reveals hidden depths with George Harrisonesque guitar and a psychedelic feel through more great harmonies. "Red White Blues" starts with what is almost an early 70s Burt Bacharach love song feel but this being Moon Safari, the book is very different from its cover. What emerges is another story of unrequited love spun in the way that only these guys can. " I'll follow you wherever you will go, down the dark and lonely hole inside your soul". "My Little Man" is Pontus ┼kesson's tribute to his son and shows yet another side to the band. Simple, stripped down, not even the trademark harmonies (although these do feature apparently on the alternative version on the Japanese edition of the album) but no less impressive. This is a band that is successfully eclectic and yet still familiar. "Diamonds" harkens back, both musically and thematically, to "Blomljud" and contains plenty of what Rick Wakeman calls "noodling". It is the classic MS cocktail of positive uplifting lyrics with exciting music. Perhaps the least adventurous track on the album but hugely enjoyable none the less. In what seems like no time, we're on the last track, "Sugar Band", Johan's good-natured response to the group's critics. The brilliance of both the lyrics and the music make this an instant MS classic. A melange of musical styles including Broadway show, classic synth riffs, and Queen result in a daringly innovative 9 minutes plus exhilarating end to the album. Superbly produced, written and recorded this is Moon Safari's most diverse and mature album to date.
Nrwhmr | 5/5 |

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