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

HIMLABACKEN VOL. 1

Moon Safari

 

Symphonic Prog

3.93 | 297 ratings

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oddworld
5 stars I'm going to give a track by track account of this album, but some tracks will have much more detail than others. This is not to take away from the tracks that don't get as much attention here. This is an extremely solid album, and I love every song on it!!!

KIDS... We are reminded a bit of Blomljud's Constant Bloom in this opener, but with a battle march feel to it. The vocals are so beautiful, and it sets us up for what you already can tell will be a magical album. 'Himlabacken' translates to 'Heaven Hill', a place where they used to play as kids, and if you already know that, as I did, you're sure to get chills when they sing 'Welcome to Heaven Hill'...

TOO YOUNG TO SAY GOODBYE... The intro gets you in the mind of wintertime, with kids sledding down the hill. The bells, Simon's Leslie speaker, the works. Perfectly painted picture, and sounding much like something the Trans Siberian Orchestra could come up with. After that, Pontus comes in with a beautiful theme on lead guitar. Petter sings the lead in this song, and if there is one thing these boys do amazingly well every time, it's put together an unbelievable melody. It's a little laid back, and very, very cool. The chorus is as catchy as ever, and they do some twists and turns with the harmonies as well. This song has one of my favorite guitar solos of the album, delivered beautifully by Pontus Akesson. The outro is all Simon on the piano, and it echoes that guitar melody I spoke of in the beginning of the song, and fades it out. Perfection...again.

MEGA MOON... This song plays out as a musical...very operatic, and although some have compared it to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody...I don't want to. It's got entirely it's own flavor. Of course, there's a catchy chorus, and the instrumental is awesome. All around incredible song.

BARFLY... Puts me in mind of the Beatles in many ways...mostly in the instrumental. The chorus is very, very simple this time, but every bit as catchy as any of the others. Gorgeous, heartfelt slide guitar in this one, too.

RED WHITE BLUES... The intro is very surreal and extremely beautiful. Composed flawlessly. The acoustic guitar break before the second verse is world class. When the singing comes in right after that, you are instantly transported back to that seventies quality sound where the melody and harmonies intertwine so perfectly...I'm thinking maybe Supertamp here? One of my favorite songs on the album.

MY LITTLE MAN... Pontus wrote this for his newborn son, and gave it an old-school country type feel with his guitar. Actually not much to say about this song since it is so simple, but it is upbeat, and lots of fun to listen to. It will make you smile, and you can tell he smiled the whole time he was writing it. Also, a guest appearance of the 'little man' himself on this track ;)

DIAMONDS... Again, although there isn't much I want to say about this song, it's one of my favorites! Just beauty. The lyrics are wise beyond their years, the way Simon sings it is so genuine and gorgeous. Some of the chord changes remind me a bit of Kansas in the Leftoverture years. Fantastic song.

SUGAR BAND... For me, this is 'epic' of the album. To me, epic just means big. And although this song is filled with candy, fantasy, and fairytale-esque themes, it is nothing to be taken lightly. In fact, imagine the first time you saw the Willie Wonka movie as a child. Remember how fantastic and big everything was? Now put all of that into a song, and you have Sugar Band. Beautiful vocal by Simon, the melodies are magical and in the style of a waltz; that is, until the chorus where I feel like I'm on a giant carousel. Before the last movement, the instrumental is the perfect composition to make this album feel like it was a complete show. At one point, the music reminds you of the end of one of those old variety shows where you can almost see credits rolling on a screen. When Pontus introduces his final guitar licks, the sound and the feel will just make you close your eyes and shake your head in absolute love for what the man is playing.

OVERALL... One thing we've come to expect from Moon Safari is the perfect marriage of infectious melodies and stunningly gorgeous harmonies. This album does not disappoint in that aspect. The instrumentation is stellar, they have seriously upped their game as far as the actual playing of their instruments. They keep going to new places musically, each time accomplishing tasteful, memorable works of art, and never losing sight of what makes them as great as they are. Very, very well done, boys.

oddworld | 5/5 |

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