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Moon Safari - The Gettysburg Address CD (album) cover

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

Moon Safari

 

Symphonic Prog

4.55 | 104 ratings

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Walkscore
3 stars Some great tracks, but sometimes veering into cheese...

So many great bands from Sweden. Moon Safari play a vocal-oriented contemporary progressive rock. Some of their tunes are short, close to radio-play length, while many others are extended with multiple parts and lots of dynamics, and a few others are full-length epics. While they have a couple of instrumentals, in most cases the tunes are structured around the vocals and lyrics, often with sing- songy vocal harmonies. Musically, they share some occasional similarities with bands like the Flower Kings (among my favourite contemporary SP bands), Spock's Beard, and the like. However, Moon Safari effuse a more sunny and light-hearted outlook. I started listening to Moon Safari with this album, partially due to the very high reviews it garnered and partially to hear a good sampling of their sound, and this led me to get the rest of their catalogue. Despite this representing well the kinds of music they do, I don't actually think this live gig is the best reflection of their skills. While they largely play the tunes like the studio albums, and the guitar and keyboard solos are very good, the vocal harmonies on a number of the tunes can't match the studio versions, and there are a few places where the timing of the drum fills and transitions also leaves the music a bit rougher than the studio versions. In fact, I think their second live album "Live in Mexico" is overall played better. My other criticism concerns their choices here. For me, there are really two stand-out tracks on this album: the opening and closing tracks. The opener, "Moonwalk", is fantastic, highly musical, and the only instrumental on this album - a joy. The closer, the 31-minute epic "Other Half of the Sky", meanwhile, is the best song of their catalogue (in my opinion), with multiple sections, lots of dynamics, and some great musical sections. Really excellent, very musical. However, the tracks in the middle are not so musical. Moon Safari's singing and lyrics have a tendency to veer into cheesy territory, often upheld by overly light and commercial-sounding chord progressions. "The World's Best Dreamers", "Dance Across the Ocean" and "New York City Summergirl" are the foremost examples of this here (even at times cringe-worthy), but to be honest the affliction also affects many of the other tracks, if with less intensity. Nowadays, when I listen to this album, I only put on the first (opening) and last (closing) tracks, and that's it. The album is worth getting for just these tracks, though - together these two tracks total 42 minutes, which is the equivalent of a full album's worth of great music. If they had just released it as such, I would be tempted to give this almost five stars. But given this is instead a double album, and roughly half the tunes veer into cheesiness, on balance I can only give this one 6.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to mid 3 PA stars.

Walkscore | 3/5 |

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