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

HIMLABACKEN VOL. 1

Moon Safari

 

Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 292 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Moon Safari was one of those bands that often showed up in Amazon's lists of what other customers purchased. I gave them some sample listens but didn't click the order button until this album came out. I somehow felt without giving this much of a sample listen that this album was worth getting. I suspect it was the strong vocal harmonies which had also attracted me to Haken's "The Mountain".

So, 'Himlabacken' (whose Swedish title 'Heaven Hill' was not lost on me of Danish background) became my introduction to Moon Safari. I was very impressed early on as both 'Kids' and 'Mega Moon' won my favour for the beautiful vocal harmonies. Although 'Kids' is shorter, it builds in drama while the voices of the six musicians sing beautiful harmonies. 'Mega Moon' in contrast frequently changes pace and mood and combines traces of Queen and light pop with barbershop quartet and at times a little more hard rock prog. In between these is 'Too Young to Say Goodbye' which I also enjoyed but to a lesser extent.

There is no question about the high level of composition and performance on this album. I had expected something a bit like the Flower Kings because of the association between the two bands but Moon Safari certainly have cut their own path with this album.

'Diamonds' is the third track to really stand out and beg for repeat listens with its beautiful piano intro and strong melody. I picked out the lines about Sid Barrett during the first listen because I had only finished reading Mark Blake's book on Pink Floyd a few weeks earlier and I had read the same thing.

'I don't know if this is really true or not, but a friend told me Sid Barrett said, that the only way to be free is to lie still in your bed and there's no end to the possibilities.'

I find myself pleased to hear a lot of the instruments and musical passages on this album, but there was one thing that kind of nagged at me. Was the music too cheery? Was it too much like children's prog (especially "Sugar Band")? Then I read one reviewer's comment that this sounds like an album for a musical and I realized he was quite right. I could easily imagine people dancing and singing on a theatre stage to much of the music here. In fact, I introduced some of the music to a friend of mine who loves musicals and dance performances and she said it might just be the kind of album she can enjoy listening to. Wow! Prog for the ladies at last? (This last comment made with apologies to the ladies who already have embraced this genre of music)

I've read other reviewers say that the older albums are better, so perhaps I should check those out. But for now I still keep spinning three or four of the tracks on a regular basis. The musical talent and quality of the sounds on this CD make me want to give it a good rating.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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