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Moon Safari - Lover's End CD (album) cover

LOVER'S END

Moon Safari

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 330 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Moon Safari: Lover's End [2010]

Rating: 6/10

Lover's End is the third album from Swedish progressive-rock band Moon Safari. The band's 2008 sophomore release Blomljud thrust them into the prog radar, and for good reason; that album is a near-masterpiece that features fantastic melodies and compelling songwriting on a grand scale. This recognition did not come with its fair share of controversy, however. Moon Safari employ musical techniques that many progressive-rock fans aren't particularly fond of: light harmonies, vocally-driven melodies, poppy cheer, and sunshine-laden lyrics. Lover's End shows the band further embracing the jolly retro-pop elements of their sound. Blomljud had its fair share of sugar, but this album pours on the gloss even more heavily. Unflinchingly sweet vocal melodies dominate the majority of these 51 minutes. Oddly enough, most of the lyrics are far from happy, dealing with themes such as shattered romance and suicidal depression (quite a far cry from the sunshine and flowers of Blomljud). I'm not sure whether or not this lyrical shift results from a desire for humorous juxtaposition or from a sincere emotional transfer. Perhaps it's a bit of both. Either way, the music is sweet - maybe sickeningly so. I love the lighter side of progressive-rock, but this album is a bit too overwhelmingly sugary.

"Lover's End, Pt. I" is an excellent opener that balances the poppy sensibilities with solid guitar and keyboard work. The 13-minute "A Kid Called Panic" shows Moon Safari at their best. The balance between the vocal harmonies and the instrumental interplay is executed absolutely perfectly. Many infectious themes show up here. "Southern Belle" sounds like something straight out of a 1950s pop album. It's nice, but there's not a whole lot of substance. "The World's Best Dreamers" is similar despite the interesting synth solo. "New York City Summergirl" is the album's low point. This song is pure pop with simplistic instrumentation and standard vocal motifs. It's catchy, but it's also shallow. "Heartland" saves itself with excellent synth work, as well as a solid rhythm section. "Crossed the Rubicon" is 9-minute vocally-driven piece. It's enjoyable, but it lasts a bit too long. "Lover's End, Pt. II" is a short a-cappella outro.

Lover's End is a nice piece of proggified pop music, but it lacks any sort of substantial bite. Moon Safari know how to craft a vocal melody; in fact, they do it far better than any modern mainstream pop artist does. Blomljud showed that they are also able to back these melodies up with compositional weight. Unfortunately, this weight goes away here. With the exception of the superb "A Kid Called Panic", Lover's End is downright fluffy. A good melody is not enough to fully carry my attention; that's why I love progressive music, after all. Moon Safari are an incredibly talented group of musicians, but they don't utilize their skill to full effect here. While I can lightly recommend Lover's End to those who can appreciate a good hook, those looking for more depth will be disappointed.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |

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