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Moon Safari - Blomljud CD (album) cover


Moon Safari


Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 492 ratings

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3 stars It has taken me months of repeated listenings to this album to try to write a review of Blomljud. This is not a typical prog album. There is a lot of contention as to whether or not this really is a prog album. There is a lot of beautiful music here--especially the vocal and acoustic guitar work--but I feel there is really an effort here to bring about a renaissance of the harmonized vocal stylings of eras gone by--even back to barbershop quar- and quintets. There is a lot of music here one might best call 'folk rock' in nature--even tinges of bluegrass. What astounds is that these guys aren't even American! They're from Scandanavia!

1. "Constant Bloom" is a very cool introductory song--reminding me of the barbershop quartet "Excuse Me" on PETER GABRIEL's first solo album (except a little more somber and serious.) (8/10) IMO, the shorter songs work well, the longer ones tend to get lost or lose the listener's interest. The use of very traditional instruments

2. "Methuselah's Children" has a very STYX-like feel to it, despite the strong presence of piano--even the vocals and vocal melodies. The BEACH BOYS-like harmonies and upbeat message I think must be intended to bring back to the hopefulness of the 1960s. It kind of works! For those who like to point to this album's long tunes for the listener to pay attention to (and come to appreciate) the progginess and virtuosity of the music and instrumentalists, I'm sorry, I don't see, hear, or feel it. Everything here seems to be a vehicle for the support of the vocal and that 60s/70s feel of optimism. (7/10)

3. "In the Countryside" again purports to take us back to simpler, more wholesome times and feelings--in a very obvious CROSBY, STILLS & NASH way (even modeling the acoustic guitar sound, rhythms and chord progression from the sounds of the era.) (7/10)

4. "Moonwalk" is the album's attempt at a true prog instrumental. It works on many levels and comes away, at times, with some originality, but slides a bit too often into GENESIS, YES, CAMEL, and STYX themes and sounds to truly pull it off. Neo-prog at best. (7/10) Until the taped voice interlude of astronaut's, I thought the title referred to the band's having gone on a kind of walkabout instrumentally.

5. "Bluebells" is another little Windham Hill artists' collaborative jam upon which the singers put a nice REO SPEEDWAGON vocal. Pretty straightforward pop sing-a-long. Nothing proggy here. (5/10)

6. "The Ghost of Flowers Past" begins with a rather catchy, albeit sappy piano intro before breaking into a kind of CAMEL/STYX sound. Again, nothing really extraordinary here. . . until the "Ain't it funny . . . " section travels into some truly classical/symphonic territory before the electric guitar and mellotron support nicely recapitulate the melody. The delicate, almost a cappella, vocals are so delightful, and the clever instrumental support, mirroring and recapitulation of vocal themes makes this song a true symphonic piece. The vocal harmony 'crescendos' of the final two minutes are quite taking. Nice piece though not melodically as memorable as one would hope. (8/10)

7. "Yasgur's Farm" Let's go back to Woodstock! Get all the instrumentalists to jam together in one song and here we go! (Actually some rather nice guitar pickin'.) The vocal section, however, just isn't able to maintain that feel--and once it's lost, it is lost--despite the return to multiple sound soloing at the 4:00 mark. Nice tribute. Okay song. (6/10)

8. "Lady of the Woolands" is the most obviously bluegrass-influenced piece. Nothing to really write home about. (6/10)

9. "A Tale of Three and Tree" is a pretty straightforward pop song--not unlike a STEPHEN BISHOP-with-THE-LETTERMEN (or COWSILLS) song. Pretty. (7/10)

10. "Other Half of the Sky" is the epic (31-minutes long) song that has really prevented me from writing this review before: I've just never been able to get through it while truly paying attention the whole way through! Nice themes and sounds (a lot from GENESIS ["Supper's Ready," "The Knife"] to SUPERTRAMP to AMERICA to STYX and around again). The problem with "Other Half of the Sky" is that it really should be on stage--presented as a musical! Like GODSPELL or JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. This is a nice piece of epic prog--one of the two songs on the album that, IMHO, truly deserve the label "prog rock"--though instrumentation changes are virtually nonexistent (the occasional organ, mellotron, pedal steel, or acoustic guitar flourish makes itself known). This prog is very, very derivative and imitative. If I really want to hear 21st century artists doing epic prog--fresh sounding epic prog--I will turn to the last four Big Big Train albums. (7/10) 11. "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" is a really charming end song that truly pulls together many of the strengths and feelings from the overall effect of the album--even re-capturing that initial feeling of astonishment from the album's opening a cappella song, "Constant Bloom." This could be a great song for say, Sesame Street or some other musical revue hoping to uplift audience spirits. (8/10)

Nice music, seemingly effortlessly combining a lot of sounds and styles from the 60s and 70s, with great vocal harmonizing, and conveying an all-too-rare positive mood and message but, in the end, it just isn't original enough to be memorable much less life-changing. 3.5 stars: Good, perhaps excellent; marked down for (at times) questionable proggitude.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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