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[BLOMLJUD]

Moon Safari

Symphonic Prog


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4 stars I must admit that when I heard that Moon Safari were following their excellent 2005 debut album 'A Doorway To Summer' with a double CD collection, I was a little concerned. My fear was for one of those long overblown Scandanavian prog albums with substandard padding oozing out all over the place. I needn't have worried. In fact 'Blomljud' is particularly impressive because of the tightness of the two CDs, which at just over 50 minutes each would easily fit on the old familiar four sides of vinyl. You can listen to the whole thing quite comfortably at one sitting, without being overcome by the urge to go out and get a proper life! Of padding there is little trace.

The music is in the same style as the debut, though perhaps a little more polished - bright, as fresh as a spring morning. It's a bit like listening to sunshine! Acoustic piano/guitars and strong vocal harmonies are again the foundations on which these eleven songs are built - and well-constructed pieces of music they are.

CD 1 opens with a short acappello piece - but don't be put off. 'Methuselah's Children' really gets the show on the road - a song about a search for deeper meaning in life than the rush and clamour for possessions that is 21st century living. The rest of the disc contains good solid material, especially the instrumental 'Moonwalk' with its strong guitar-led melody and obligatory astronaut sound clip! CD 2 is structurally similar to the debut album in that it is dominated by one long track, 'Other Half Of The Sky'. This is another solid prog outing with nice changes of atmosphere, tempo and style - some of the heaviest stuff on the album ('heavy' by Moon Safari standards that is). The shorter tracks that preceed this are probably the weakest part of the album in my view, though time may change that. 'Yasgur's Farm' ups the tempo - yes, Moon Safari can rock - and 'Lady Of The Woodlands' keeps it going with a whirling, spinning jig of a song - yes, Moon Safari even do folk dance! As if rebuked for such frivolity 'A Tale of Three and Tree' brings us back down to earth with a slow acoustic number filled with the chill and mystery of the forest. 'Sail Beyond The Sunset' does exactly what it says, providing a dreamy exit over rippling piano arpeggios - the perfect end to the perfect day.

If I have one small criticism to make of all this, its that the rustic, woodland-lore nature of the music and lyrics (including the occasional bird chirping in the background) does become slightly irritating. Much as I've enjoyed albums one and two, number three may have to venture into new territory to sustain the interest. This is definitely one of the hidden gems of 2008, though sadly it may turn out to be one of the year's most neglected albums. It is definitely worth hearing with an open mind, and shouldn't take long to persuade you that further listens will be a profitable and enjoyable experience. Don't be put off by the garish artwork or the unpronouncable title - this is quality music.

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Send comments to Lazarus (BETA) | Report this review (#168610)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I must say I was not too thrilled when I heard that Moon Safari´s new release would be a double studio CD. their first album was promising, but such a massive efford could only meant two things: a lot of self indulgence or a lot of inspiration. Fortunally, Blomljud is one of the rare cases of the latter option. From the first notes of the a capella Constant Blue you get the feeling this is a winner. Their formula is basicly the same: very much influenced by Yes (specially the more acoustic side of their classic period), Moody Blues, with some Alan Parsons and early Genesis here and there. Yet they added some more bold jazzy arrangements, giving their already excellent vocal harmonies a new edge they did not have on their debut. They sound also a bit more symphonic than on A Doorway To Summer.

The instrumental parts are also much improved, with some amazing subtle and effective interventions. Moon Safari is not your average prog band in terms of long instrumental jams. They rather stay in the ´song´ format, in which they are highly successful. They are still pretty much a vocal band, but that does not mean they are not skillful musicians themselves. They are. In fact it is hard to believe they can play and sing it all that well! Amazing! I loved specially the keyboards lines, with some great piano, hammond organ and very classy mellotron! But they simply don´t lose themselves in a lot of experimentations, like other swedish prog bands, The Flower Kings being the obvious exemple. Moon Safari seems to like to craft their stuff with beginning, middle and end parts. Even their 30 minute epic Other Half Of The Sky sounds like a big song. And it does not bore you a second! In fact the more I hear this album, the more I love it.

Blomljud was given a better production, writing and playing than their first release. What was good (sometimes very good), now reached the excellency leavel. With no fillers, but lots of talent and guts this CD may not be regarded as a masterpiece, but boy, do they come close! (in my humble opinion they should invest a little bit more on their instrumental side, thus the 4,5 star rate, but I might as well change it to 5 star latter). If you like the melodic, cheerful side of prog, this is a must have. One of the best releases in 2008 and one fo the rare double CDs that are worth every penny spent on it. Moon Safari is a band to watch closely from now on. Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#170875)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars

For Keith

This Swedish five-piece band is rooted in 2003, two years later they released their debut CD entitled A Doorway To Summer with the help of The Flower Kings keyboardplayer Thomas Bodin. I was very pleased with the melodic, varied and lush symphonic rock sound and looked eagerly forward to the successor. Well, it took 3 years but Moon Safari has just released the new album named Blomljud and it's even a double-CD, how daring. Both CD's have a running time of at about 50 minutes and the band invited guest musicians on electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, percussion, violin and cello.

During my first listening session I had to get used to the contrast between the parts with acoustic rhytm guitar and vocal harmonies and the interludes with bombastic vintage keyboards. But then I really started to enjoy the 24-carat symphonic prog that sounds very melodic and pleasant, quite often I was carried away to Progheaven, especially because of the long and alternating compositions that are loaded with flashy Minimoog flights, heavy Mellotron waves and beatiful work on the Grand piano. I also loved the sensitive an dmoving guitar solos, accompanied by lush choir-Mellotron, goose bumps! The 11 songs on the two CD's deliver a lot of variation, from dreamy piano with acoustic guitar and flute Mellotron, warm vocals with violin and acoustic rhythm guitar with sparkling piano to powerful R&R inspired guitar with heavy Hammond organ (like in the Classic Yes sounding Yasgur's Farm), a blend of 12-string - and steel guitar and bombastic eruptions with Hammond, Moog and Mellotron, wonderful! The exciting highlight of Blomljud is the very long composition Other Half Of The Sky (more than half an hour), it contains cascades of shiftings moods and great solos, never a dull moment: a bombastic part with fiery wah-wah drenched guitar and Hammond organ, sensitive guitar runs with choir-Mellotron and sparkling Grand piano, a mellow part with 12-string guitar, vocal harmonies and steel guitar and a propulsive interlude with fiery guitar and Hammond and Mellotron.

I am delighted and very impressed by the huge progress of Moon Safari in 3 years, sensational!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#172175)
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I tried this double CD as I had heard that Moon Safari were like the Flower Kings. I feel that they are more like Yes and Camel, but what a pleasant surprise. This is classic symphonic prog, very well put together, with Moon Safari's own slant on things. There are many superb features; exqusite vocal harmonies, achingly beautiful melodies, delightful acoustic work, exciting up-tempo sections, excellent guitar and keyboard sounds, all with a positive feel. The band are versatile in being able to produce fine short tracks, as well as a glorious 30+ minute epic. There is consistently high quality throughout with no 'filler'. It is one of my very favourite CDs of th 21st Century! 5 stars without hesitation!

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Send comments to dmwilkie (BETA) | Report this review (#180796)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars If happiness were a crime, these guys would definitely be in prison.

Simply put, [Blomljud] is one of those albums that can pull even Oscar the Grouch out of a bad mood. Moon Safari's tight vocal harmonies, splendidly simple melodies, and pleasant tone color choices all make for an album not soon forgotten. Many of the lyrics are inspired by nature: the trees, forests, the sun, and (of course) the moon. In a way, the lushness of the music enhances the lyrics because it, like the lyrics, reflects nature's beauty.

Moon Safari never allow [Blomljud] to get stale or rotten. The instrumental sections are not filled with mindless noodling revealing only technical ability, but rather with masterfully crafted lead lines that both show technical prowess and expose an astute ability to maintain balance. It is clear, then, that Moon Safari is not all about themselves, but rather all about the music: this is certainly rare sight in modern prog. The music is produced at the highest level, and there are no real flaws in this gem.

It is clear from the unmistakable happiness of Moon Safari's music that these men truly love music. It not only is their passion, but it is what makes them happy. In a genre (perhaps even an industry) completely dominated by the likes of angst-filled, hopeless lovers, depressed musicians, and melancholy lyricists, it is a bit of sweet rejuvenation to hear an effort that is not only so well-crafted but also so joy-filled.

4.5 stars! Truly an Excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to Inverted (BETA) | Report this review (#180953)
Posted Thursday, August 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Major changes for this second work of Moon Safari.

They have now released a double album instead of a classic single one! Big deal. Now we have to listen to over a hundred minutes of YesMusic. But played by one of their clones.

Just as during "A Doorway To Summer", they opted for a softer approach. I'm not saying that one has to experience hundred minutes of "Wonderous Stories" but you get the idea.

Their music is highly keyboards oriented, as if it was more difficult to elaborate great guitar breaks like Steve could do. But the man is of course on another level. This album is pleasant, although mellowish and should please lots of young YesFans. Old freaks might well be less inclined to fully appreciate this highly derivative work.

To write an epic of over thirty minutes sounds quite pretentious. Even the masters did not dare to do that. To be honest, this song ("Other Half Of The Sky") is not a bad one but vocals are quite boring. This song is bizarrely more a personal one even if the shadow of who you know is there. Banks is also not forgotten during some synth passages.

But the filiation is much less obvious than during "Methuselah's Children" which is the second longest song (over fifteen minutes) and too much reminiscent of "Yes". A pastiche, frankly. There are some Renaissance sounds as well with Moonwalk: it is another pleasant moment of this long album.

I was quite curious to listen to "Yasgur's Farm". Max Yasgur was this US farmer who rent a part of his grounds for the Woodstock festival in 1969. You have to know that I consider Woodstock as one of the major event in the rock history. I discovered Hendrix, Ten Years After, Joe Cocker, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young etc. Strange title anyway for this psychedelic and very much seventies oriented song. One of the best from the album together with the very symphonic The Ghost Of Flowers Past.

Even if I was quite sarcastic in my introduction, I have to say that this album is better than their debut one. It is a good album which could have been even better if it would have been somewhat more personal and shorter. But I can't get thrilled with some pastoral and almost folkish songs like "In The Countryside" (maybe normal with such a title) and the closing "To Sail Beyond The Sunset".

Some songs could have been dropped ("Lady Of The Woodlands", "A Tale Of Three And Tree" the cliché "Methuselah's Children" and the poor Bluebells) in order to make this album an hour long affair. I'm sure it would have gained in consistency and would have been more attractive.

As such, three stars. Which means a good work.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#182111)
Posted Tuesday, September 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the best album in years....

It's happy, it's beautiful and never boring.

It starts with a capella that almost get me into tears every time I hear it, and then the journey begin. I most admit that some parts of this album feel really Genesis-rip-off, but I love G so for me it dont matter. Other influences is of course Yes. But the great comparisment is Flower Kings whitout doubt. Tomas Bodin from TheFK even helpt them out on their first album (doorway to summer).

I love the guitar work on Blomljud (Flowersound in english). Always balanced and never to much. The solos is outstanding. Just listen to Yasgur's farm!

And credit to multi talanted Simon Åkesson.

I know this will be my favorite album of 2008.

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Send comments to Joel Berntson (BETA) | Report this review (#182199)
Posted Thursday, September 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I have been waiting to do this review for a while because I was puzzled about it. The first time I heard it I was quite enthusiastic about the sound and the whole 104 minute release. But when I listened the second and third time the entusiasm slipped away from me, not completely but more than I had expected.

At first listening this was almost overwhelming in the sense of the close harmony singing I never heard before in prog. The vocals are crystal clear and do an outstanding job together. I think it's fair to say that Moon Safari produce some of the best vocal performances in the entire prog scene. As we all know many prog bands do not really excel in the vocal department or have at least out of the ordinary leadsingers (Jon Anderson, Geddy Lee, Peter Gabriel, Peter Hammill, Andy Tilison, Roine Stolt, need I go on ?) but Moon Safari finally is an obvious exception. Also the instrumental handling is very much ok to me (even though it seems of second importance with this band) so what's the problem ?

The problem is the lack of energy they produce, the true heart & soul involvement is what I'm missing. I mean, they are compared with The Flower Kings but in my conviction TFK do a much better job in that department. And right now I'm listening to The Tangent, well, I have to say Moon Safari could take some lessons with these guys about playing with heart & soul. Moon Safari is almost the counterpart of The Tangent in this respect. Maybe Moon Safari isn't meant to be a band like this, maybe they just want to do their great vocal job and make pleasant sounding music but if that is the case they will never be my favourite band. It's the same problem as with Renaissance, technically great (especially Annie Haslam) but lacking emotion. Besides that the whole thing is a bit too mellow for me. If I stay with the TFK comparison I believe that TFK has much more body in their music, they can even be pretty fierce at times but the only moments I hear Moon Safari do this is in their epic after 5 minutes, lasting hardly two minutes in total and later on in the second half of this lengthy track. It will be no coincidence or surprise that this long epic is by far the best on the doubler to me. The rest is, well let's keep it friendly, not my cup of tea.

I will give it three stars (3,3) but that's partly because I know it's a good album, maybe even very good and I will always be at least a bit objective but in the end it's the personal appreciation that does the job for the rating.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#182386)
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album by Moon Safari came as a big surprise for me. I love the Progressive Rock that bands like Glass Hammer, The Flower Kings, Neal Morse and others play. Moon Safari reminds me of The Flower Kings. Moon Safari can produce beautiful harmonies, melodies, and choruses just like The Flower Kings.

Overall this album is a long one, double album, and features many long songs; featuring one almost 32 minute epic. The music is not heavy, but features brilliant piano/keyboard playing and the vocals are very enjoyable. I have always had a hard time finding a vocalist that fits the music, but Moon Safari have two great vocalist that harmonize with each other constantly, Simon Åkesson and Petter Sandström. Both have great strong vocals.

As for the music I hear lots of Hammond organ, moogs, mellotrons, 6, 12-string acoustic guitars, electric guitars and solid drumming. I found that many of the songs have Hammond organ, and I love that sound. Many of the songs feature some good soloing, but not in excess. Overall the music is soft/acoustic, and features great harmony vocals.

I really enjoy this album. When I need something uplifting with great harmonies and beautiful music I put this album in. I love the song Bluebells, and would consider it the best off the album. Bluebells is the best example of great harmonies, great piano/keyboards, and solid acoustic/electric guitar. I would recommend giving this album a chance. It is long, something like 104 minutes, but after 5+ listening this album has matured for me and it is a relaxing/mesmerizing listen.

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Send comments to Prog_Rocks (BETA) | Report this review (#189092)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album was kind of last year's musical revelation to me, and it didn't take long to really get into what the band is doing. Which is, sort of, The Flower Kings with a slightly softer touch and an emphasis on harmony vocals that sometimes try to compete with established á cappella ensembles. Sweden has a few of those latter ones, but the combination of a symphonic progressive foundation and those frequent, almost angelic vocal excursions is not as common - to say the least. Often that makes Moon Safari seem like a born-again Yes with some additional tricks up their proverbial sleeves, and clearly a carved- out identity of their own. I started listening to their previous album around the time I was introduced to this one, which is better, more distinguished and elaborate. Personal favourites include "The Ghost of Flowers Past", the catchy three-minute folkpop-oriented "Lady of the Woodlands" (a lightweight, but nevertheless a gem) and of course the crown jewel itself: "Other Half of the Sky", half an hour indulging in all that progressive rock of this life-affirming variety can be. I wonder, though, how and when they will be able to follow up this album, and how much more of this calibre they can come up with in the future. Hopefully, a lot.

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Send comments to sanjuansueco (BETA) | Report this review (#199155)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a real gem, that I discovered thanks to this site. I got very curious when I read a 5-star review of it, since, a) It was a swedish album, and I am from Sweden, and b) it was from 2008. Hooked by the review I read on, and soon decided to try the album out. To my surprise it happened to be one of the nicest sounding albums I ever heard. I think other reviewers on the site has done a good job of explaining their sound, so I will not go into great detail about it. What I can say though is that the music is very happy, includes a combination of nice accoustic (guitar and grand piano) as well as electric sounds (mainly moog, hammond, mellotron and electric guitar), and that the vocal harmonies are stunning. This is a double album, and of high quality, and so has immense lasting power. I listened to this album almost exclusively for 3 months, itäs very hard to get enough of it. If you don't have it, buy it!

This album was a great leap forward compared to their debut. And the good news is that they are soon going to head into the studio to record their 3d album, which is supposed to be released sometime in 2009. If they can top, or even match, Blomljud, then we are in for a treat.

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Send comments to Malex (BETA) | Report this review (#199221)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I picked this up on a whim after reading some of the great reviews and positive comparisons to the Flower Kings who I really enjoy. Overall, this is a great album getting 4 stars from me. Given this is a newer band, the compositions are well written and the playing tight and professional.

I do find you have to be in the mood for this album to really enjoy it though. The mood of the album is overwhelmingly positive so if you are feeling down this album could give you a boast. You can just imagine the band members singing harmoniously with big smiles on their faces and bubbles floating in the background. However, if you are in the mood for something with a little more grit or a little darker you may want to look elsewhere for that particular listening session as the positive mood could become annoying.

The album could definitely benefit from better engineering and mastering. While sounding clean and fine on computer speakers, if you play this CD on a decent stereo system you will find it sorely lacking in bass and dynamics which could have given the bands sound a lot more umph, parlicularly on the epic track Other Half of the Sky.

Overall a great effort. I look forward to hearing more from these guys.

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Send comments to proggesser (BETA) | Report this review (#199933)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Sunny symphonic rock with a 70s sound.

This album from Moon Safari carries the following elements. It's main emphasis are vocal harmonies and luckily all members of the band have a very pleasant voice. The vocal harmonies are not only very well done, but rival the vocal work of the best progressive bands. They resemble Yes and the Flower Kings. The instrumentation is for the most part very pleasant and melodic. There are lots of mellotrons, 12-string guitars, pretty electric guitars, pretty synthesizer tones, gentle drumming ... you see what I'm getting at: the music can be described as pretty, peaceful, innocent, sunny. This is an important element in terms of whether you will like the album or not. If you don't like it when The Flower Kings or Yes gets too peaceful and pretty, multiply that tenfold and you'll find this album too sugary and irritating. For example, the opening acapella song Constant Bloom (which I love) is accompanied by bird noises and such. Not to say that it's always that, there are moments where the drums pick up, the guitar gets distorted and they start rocking out for a bit. It's just that there is not much of that throughout the long duration of the disc. For example, in their first epic Methuselah's Children , the heaviest part is around minute 12, which is brief and despite it being louder, it is still a very uplifting sound. When you hear this epic, you'll notice how easily parts fit together. The album is very coherent, tho you might say it sacrifices some dynamics.

The folksy In The Countryside continues the pleasant sound and is even softer with floating electric guitars in the background, soft synthesizers, a symphony of 12-string guitars, and vocal harmonization playing in stereo as a conclusion. Moon Safari , which is instrumental, is a bit more energetic which begins with a deep hammond organ riff, continues with a few motifs and briefly has a majestic rhythmic part. Afterward, there's a very memorable melody playing with 12-string guitars initially but then it returns with a soaring electric guitar. The rest of the song uses different happy motifs.

The next two tracks are my two favorite tracks of the disc, with the epic slightly behind. Bluebells has excellent upbeat vocal harmonies which are very catchy and memorable: especially during the choruses. Call it poppy if you want, but I love them. After four minutes, a new vocal melody appears under flute mellotrons. This is used to introduce one of the best passages of the album: a light, yes-like electric guitar melody that is very moving. Another section worthy of mention is a Gentle-Giant meets Yes acapella section. The Ghost of Flowers Past is another excellent song, probably the best one in the album. It has an energetic intro with solos, it introduces mellow verses and after minute 3, the song gets into some great passages: a complex vocal workout over a great melodic theme, a brilliant and soaring guitar line, and the climax when an even more majestic version of the guitar line is played with plain awesome vocal workouts: definitively the best part of the album for me.

The second CD luckily continues the good songwriting qualities of the first. Yasgur's Farm is an upbeat and energetic rocker that keeps a fast pace during most of the song. The musicianship is very good in this song. The ending of the song has its tempo lowered and is more melodic. Lady of the Woodlands is another fast-paced tune, but this one is more focused on memorable melodies. A Tale of Three and Tree is an acoustic campfire sort of song. Simple and pleasant: it works as a musical break between the energetic tunes before it and the epic.

The epic Other Half of the Sky actually takes a few minutes to get really started. When it stops floating on mellotrons/12-string acoustics, a percussive theme is introduced and rapidly, the song turns into a distorted guitar riff that is as metal as these guys get. I think it will take too long to explain each part of the song, so I will state that apart from the heavy metal riff (which reappears later), and the parts surrounding it, the music is like the songs in the album, but probably more inspired. To Sail Beyond the Sunset sounds like its title and works as a fitting closure.

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#199946)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars At the first listening of this album I thought: Wow, these guys are great! In fact here we can find all the "progressive" components: long tracks, sudden changes, keen sense of melody, typically '70's sounds, excellent instrumental technique, beautiful voices, so I thought that my appreciation for this job would be increased day by day. Instead, after several listens, even if I liked it, I felt that Blomljud didn't "took" me so much, and I couldn't understand why. After several weeks of listening, I have come to a conclusion: to my ears this album sounds too happy or pastoral. I don't think that music must necessarily be sad and gloomy", because there are so many music genres and so many ways to appreciate it, but, especially in progressive rock, I think that there should be a touch of emotion, passion, and sometimes a little of suffering. However, for many people this album can be rightly considered as a masterpiece, but IMHO it lacks the intensity that I can find, for example, in The sacrifice of Symphony X, even if it's a different genre. 3 stars

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Send comments to prog61 (BETA) | Report this review (#206709)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars So let's go review. First track sets the mood perfectly. Their Beach Boys like vocals, are nice introduction. They sets Mood. With capital M, because this Mood will grab you by your balls and don't let you down till last track will be over. Their voices are far more synchronized than line of SATA hard drives in RAID field, or than Octavarium orchestra (used in Score tour by Dream Theater in 2006). Than we get to first epic song. It's quite unusual to use more epic songs in one album, but they managed it. 13 minutes, it can be good epic. Well, it beats last epic too, by my opinion. To be honest, I have never heard such a melodic music. This is perfect example of optimistic music.

For example this Tale of Three and Tree is fine lullaby. Bluebells can seem more pop-oriented, but still stands its qualities. EDIT: And after few months of listening, I have admit that my feelings have changed a lot. I love it. /EDIT Moonwalk's "My Coat Is Full of Stars", yeah, it really is. Less positive, more dark I think, excuse me, I feel. Because to feel this is the key to understand this album. I think Blomljud is absolute opposite to Trout Mask Replica. This album has few purposes. Amongst them is desire to be optimistic, positive in general, to have nice melodies, cute (this is the first time I used this word ever) lyrics and nature-celebrating feeling. These Sweden boys, bards of modern prog music, who sings in English language really deserves people attention. This positive review (for positive music) doesn't mean that it's flawless. I found few things which irritates me. For example "The Ghost of Flowers Past", or few biblical themes, lines and remarks (I hate religion, god, all these things), but they can be found not only here, but also in Genesis work (yeah, book Genesis) or Church of Your Heart by The Flower Kings (at least I think it has some transcendent themes. Anyway, The Ghost makes me feel bad, so I always skip it.

Then country-like Yasgur's Farm. Why country ? Except it's farm and has countryside lyrics, you can hear country music played on electric guitar at 4:22 and in general, it's recurring theme in this piece. Solos are great here, even better than in other songs. It's funny (and pointless in fact) to compare it with old prog rock from 70s. Length of this CD is around 100 minutes and SEBtP has only about 40min. But Genesis piece is better. I can't say why, but most of people feel it this way. Why ? Who knows. Well, let's stab this review in the back and finish this non-Finnish (but Swedish) fine band finally (puns intended). Because you "cannot trust the tree". No, you can't, but trust me when I say, this is one of the biggest surprises of two thousand eight. Like pearl, found on the bottom of ocean, I've discovered this album forgotten by most people and I'm glad that I did. And now come the one, who made epic win. Even the first minutes of "Other Half of the Sky" are perfect, there is something even better. If it's possible, lyrics, but mostly melody at ... 8:00 (?) is ... is precious. And even this moment of great melody lasts only for three minutes and then came "TV is my only friend", it returns back later in this song.

So warning, this album is VERY addictive. But I don't care now, some addictions are good.Heroin is not, Blomljud is good. Coffee is bad, Other Half of the Sky is good. I can't imagine being without this music for long time. Hell yeah, this is the same case as I had with Dark Side of the Moon in days(I mean weeks) I listened it for the first time. Take care and do yourself a favour, listen to these guys and feel the heat of optimistic energy.

Some additionally info. Heh, there is interesting fact about this album. You can see, that at the moment (28th March, 2009), average points are 4.0 and there are four reviews by prog mods/revs. Their average is 3.6, so this 4.0 total must have came from us, mere mortals. I mean reviewers. It's probably sign that we're not to strict and professional. For example myself, I'm going to give this album five stars. As I did with Pink Floyd's best work. Can they be compared ? Absolutely no, my mind is not working in this way. They both deserves five stars by my opinion, but their different. A lot. A very very lot I mean, but both good. So this is my introduction. By the way, ebay albums according to name of this band are absolutely wrong. They are all albums "Moon Safari" from trance band "Air" (or something like that) which has nothing in common. Sad bud true. But I don't care, I don't use this feature (but it takes hell long time to load all things on page, mostly this ebay takes a lot of it).

EDIT: So 5(+) for absolute masterpiece. Only reason I see why somebody can hate this album is overuse of optimism thing. And can we blame them for that ? In current pessimistic world, why don't we just accept this. We like death metal, doom visions, world in flames, but a lot of people can't take these visions of peace, happiness and joy. I can. And I'm not some drug addict, I live normal life, study on university, live in (our country's society) quite big city, which is mostly made from grey colour, grey people and traffic rush. I'm realist. But I like these signs of better world.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#208454)
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars For my first PA review, I feel Moon Safari's sophomore album is a great place to start. The little advisory window told me to only give zeros and fives out sparingly as they greatly affect the overall score the album gets, so I can confidently say this one deserves the fifth star.

To begin, I was among the first American audience to ever hear this phenomenal band live at ROSfest and they were completely amazing and humble. They ended their show with the first song on [blomljud], an almost Beach Boys-y (think "A Young Man is Gone" but much happier) accapella tune, "Constant Bloom." This subtle, yet tuneful and easily reprise-able melody sets the stage for one of the most light-hearted and upbeat albums my ears have ever heard.

The sound is very much Yes-inspired symphonic prog, which just a hint of folk (see the the main melodies and banjo rolls in "Yasgur's Farm"). I read that Tomas Bodin had something to do with their first album, and someone's first impression is to name them Flower Kings clones. Sure there are some Kings-like moments, such as the instrumental track, "Moonwalk," which reminded me of "Pioneers of Aviation" just a smidge, but they are hardly worship and not distracting at all.

The really treat are the band members voices even accomodating jazz chord modulations in the (count 'em) 5-part harmonies. Don't let my mention of jazz let you think fusiony breakdowns and solos up the yin-yang. Think subtle modulations that only enhance the happy factor.

The epic of the album, "The Other Half of the Sky," really flexes the prog muscle with its epic form, multiple movements and astonishly beautiful melodic ending.

While this CD is nothing new, it is a grade-A slab of symphonic prog. It's refreshing and quite upbeat, the perfect soundtrack to a pleasant summer.

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Send comments to VoiceintheFan (BETA) | Report this review (#216602)
Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars Moon Safari is no one- shot wonder, here today and gone tomorrow. In fact, reviewing the first album was no easy feat, falling prey to the camouflage of their arsenal, a heady brew of lush symphonics, Brit-prog elegance, some evident Yessisms and most unfathomably for prog, some of the densest lead vocal work, abetted with luxuriant massed harmonies that savage the sublime! Not content with a weak sophomore release, the Swedes return with a 2 CD colossus that could easily have challenged them too hard but they blaze through with a primo repertoire with fewer Yes-like references, carving out their own fresh and unique sound. After a momentary introduction of chirping birds, fueled by a willing recall of their breezy form of progressive rock, the momentous "Mathuselah's Children" sets the winds blowing , floppy sails flapping in the gale , a warm zephyr of lavender wisps and clapping salty whitecaps. The avian chatter reappears; an ornate Wakeman-esque piano announces the true colors of an epic, as the synth forages deep into the landscape, whistling like some shepherd irate at he tardy pace of the flock. When the sassy vocal lead enters the fray, the Moonsafari style is fully in display, an invigorating concoction of hard and soft, loaded with originality (nothing comes close to this kind of "positive" prog , very au contraire from the usual densely brooding Swedish school of "icy"prog). The almost Beachboy-ish vocal harmonies are simply breathtaking, I mean let's face it, prog is not really renowned for its vocalists, but rather for the blazing instrumental prowess and the, at times absurd creativity. Simon Akesson is a rare commodity, the man can sing in the truest sense of the term, a very specific voice that can resonate in so many ways (the African chanting is amazing!) and having a full time second vocalist is just added incentive to shine. Brother (?) Pontus is no slouch on the guitar, ripping some melodious strings on the way, while the bass and drums are, as usual with the Scandinavians, top notch. All three actively participate on backing vocals! (get the message?). But the killer revelation is that Simon plays all the keys as well, a supremely talented musician, to say the least as his ivory work is exemplary. The mellotron torrent finale, pushed along by a soaring lead guitar solo is one for the ages. An amazing track, simply beyond words. Time to whip out the Pomerol! "In the Countryside", still has birds shrilling, in a highly Anthony Phillips-like atmosphere but with way more focus on a profound melody , a waft of secure wholesomeness (yeah, the subject is love!) and a general "good" feeling. Hey, this isn't Gothic or Viking! Just when you thought that this wispy trend will continue, the lads (they are young!) decide to shove a little rage into the fire, a burning Hammond rampaging unmolested, a trucculent guitar blitz and the melancholic piano taking over the spell , relayed to a radiant synthesizer solo. The pace becomes suddenly classy, elegant, suave and refined. Bassist Johan Westerland and drummer Tobias Lundgren play like the defense tandem of the Swedish Hockey All-star team. Solid. The track has sufficient legs to enthrall with a mind blowing repeated guitar riff that keeps emerging ever more confident, a truly grandiose finale. Yes, the preceeding "Moonwalk" is a masterpiece of modern prog, the kids have learned well! "Bluebells" is again rewarded with an evolving arrangement that is spawned by some colorful pastels and morphs into a harmonic extravaganza, with intertwining vocal leads and some innocent folkish joy. Nice to see youngsters who are upbeat (too many are deadbeat, if you see what I mean!) and actually seeing life and art as a joyous experience, devoid of any suicidal tendencies (no, not the band!) in a modern country that always had way too many self-murders. The playing is remarkable, with multiple instrumental cameos (pedal steel guitar, mandolin, percussion) and the choir work is utterly world class, a shimmering lesson in harmony. CD 1 ends with the gorgeous "The Ghosts of Flowers Past", another shining prog nugget that has some initial guest violin and Simon's bubbly synth vying for top honors, with the electric axe taking its place as well. The vocal centerpiece is an actual song, like those classic tunes from the 40s and 50s, escorted by a whimsical piano and a whoosh mellotron chorus, very crafty indeed. Add some harmonic seasonings and you quickly realize the scope of their ability, the sheer conceptualization of their method is mesmerizing. The final chorus is just "Bravo". Need I reiterate my admiration? CD 2 heads out on the highway with a sense of unbridled adventure, headlights ablaze with a rollicking guitar/organ barrage, followed by playful piano, bubbly synth and a cool guitar solo. The vocals are so mid- West American; you would swear you are listening to Starcastle, Kansas, Styx and a proggier REO Speedwagon. Just to confuse the New Yorkers, there is even a slight Springsteen touch, I swear! All very tasty, very classy and totally convincing. The bold axe solo flutters wildly, bluesy to the hilt, at times swerving, slicing, carving and careening with overt audacity. There is a little 40s feel again, albeit briefly ("Messenger of Everlasting Love") and a cheeky Brit-Pop slant a la Squeeze or 10CC. Darn well done. "Lady of the Woodlands" sounds like a nice title for White Willow, Landberk or Anglagard but is a limpid prog travelogue firmly entrenched in the pastoral (more mandolins and fiddles), obviously closer to prog-folk than your classic symph band. "A Tale of Three and Tree" is a sweet segue, tumbling even deeper into the prog nursery lullaby, green like the fields of Albion and all so gently fragile, the voices once more flirting with paradise. The monster is next, the gigantic nearly 32 minute prog megalith that ultimately encompasses all the characteristics of this astonishing band, all the usual suspects weaving together in wide effortlessness, letting the arrangement slide majestically on its own, unperturbed and unhurried. On the "Other Half of the Sky" the chirping does a homecoming for a few seconds and entrenches itself in a gargantuan vocal exhibition, languorous and melancholia-drenched as the mighty mellotron ushers in the sweeping guitar that then pushes the effect pedal and instigates some of the fieriest playing from these dudes. Hey, they can kick too, when needed. But as you may have guessed, the unending contrasts are constantly evolving, never staying in an extended groove, challenging the listener ever more. The clever Mini-Moog bursts add sizzle to the spitting flames, enough for Simon's compassionate vocals to really express the benevolence of life and the endless quest for happiness ("Do just what you feel"). Pontus Akesson does some fabulous work here on a variety of guitar passages, sandwiched between the singer ripping off some dazzling organ fills. There a slight psychedelic touch ('ghost in the machine") that is completely charming, in a less dreamy, more realistic sense. And then they massively dive into the deepest symphonic maelstrom, replete with ruffling organ, phosphorescent guitar illuminations, bedecked with an array of sampled voice effects and some Jon Anderson inspiring lead singing that surpasses the master. If Yes would have been the author, we would be all be in gaga land. The opus ends with a gargantuan sortie that has epic scrawled all over it, insisting towards the road back home. "To Sail beyond the Sunset" is a fitting goodbye, an almost Genesisian piano intro that exudes the warmest charm, as expressed by the delicate vocals and the forlorn mood, as if the boys in the band had finally exhausted their strength and hit the sack. Truly magnificent. And deserving of massive applause. Again, there is nothing else out there quite like this. For that alone, they deserve inclusion in any collection. I found this is an amazing used store in Calgary, smack in cowboy country and western land, go figure! The debut was very good, this is amazing!

Yes, the kids have learned very well. 5 Prog songbooks

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#230877)
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Modern prog is a new beast to me. Prog in general is as well, but I'm more familiar with discographies of bands such as Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, etc...nonetheless, I find that most modern prog doesn't quite have that magical spark of the '70s stuff. Sure, there are excellent moments, songs, solos, etc., but as soon as I put on one of the old discs, there's something there that isn't in the modern stuff. And I usually feel, "Boy, those modern recordings are great, but they don't have -this-, this indefinable greatness."

This review isn't going to try and convince you that, somehow, Moon Safari has grabbed onto that spark and become one with the prog of the '70s. But when I listen to Moon Safari, I don't miss the spark, and that, I think, is even more important. If it sounded the same as the '70s stuff, it wouldn't really be prog, would it?

This album is fun, uplifting, and downright summery. It starts off innocently enough with Constant Bloom, a vocal piece that demonstrates one of Moon Safari's strongest aspect: Their use of vocals. Of course the high vocals stand out here, and they use them frequently, but they have a wide range that they express with their vocal cords. Each member of the band sings, with each member but the drummer doing lead vocals at some point.

The album jumps right into Methuselah's Children, the smaller epic on the album, clocking in at 15 minutes. It pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the album, with pleasant chords and keyboards, layered and varied vocals, uplifting lyrics, and catchy music. It also contains two lines of lyrics that I have found particularly uplifting, in the way that they encourage living in the present and not worrying about problems that don't exist:

"Well I don't care anyways, gone tomorrow but still here today" "I guess that what lies in the future will come to me in time"

Just excellent stuff.

The first disc continues strong with "In the Countryside", a nice piece about the joys of living away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whenever this song comes on, I can't help but imagine how pleasant it would be to pack up and get away. It's that effective.

Moonwalk is an excellent instrumental that proves that these guys are more than just excellent vocalists, for it is replete with excellent drumming, keyboard work, and guitars. It leads nicely into Bluebells, yet another uplifting song, this one containing some of their strongest multilayer vocals (my favorite part is the vocal harmony part after 6 minutes). This leads into my favorite song off the album, the varied and excellent "Ghost of Flowers Past", which is an epic way to close the first disc.

The second disc is not quite as strong as the first disc, and the three shorter songs on it are not quite as strong as any of the material on the first disc. Nonetheless, it is held together by it's two longer pieces and is still an excellent listen.

Yasgur's Farm is an ever changing journey through the LSD filled days of Woodstock, containing more great instrumental breaks and singing. Lady of the Woodlands is another catchy song, if it does not go anywhere interesting (although being only 3 minutes, this is not a problem). A Tale of Three and Tree is actually a pretty good piece, but it feels somewhat out of place here, with a more somber feeling and a seemingly darker story. Nonetheless, it's a very short hiccup, as it leads into the excellent "Other Half of the Sky".

At 31 minutes, Other Half is the longest song on the album. It is split into four parts, and is held together quite excellently. For example, at the end of the song is an excellent closing verse, with the simple lyrics "Everyday, I'm loving you more, in every way, I'm loving you more" sung with such ebullience as to make them wholly convincing. However, during many instrumental breaks leading up to this point, the guitar hints at this ending. In this way, the end bit is still new when you hear it at the end of the song, instead of feeling like you have heard it 20 times throughout the epic, yet it fits easily within the piece.

The song is filled with more excellent vocals and instrumental pieces. It is not quite on the same level as the classic epics (Supper's Ready, Close To the Edge, Echoes, Plague of Lighthouse Keepers, etc.), but few songs can make that claim. It is still a superb epic, and a joy to hear whenever it comes on.

The album closes with To Sail Beyond the Sunset, which feels more like an afterthought after all the excellent music that has come before it. In a sense, this works, as the song gives us time to bask in the excellence that is Moon Safari as the album wraps up.

Doing a double album for the second album is a tricky move, but somehow, Moon Safari did it superbly. If they can keep up this quality of song writing and performance, they should be poised to become one of the biggest bands in modern prog. Other than some short low moments on the second disk, this album is near perfect. The amazing thing is that, with just the first disk, this album would earn a five star review, for the music is just that good. The second disk is merely icing on an already delicious cake, and then a scoop of ice cream or two for good measure.

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#241480)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars All things and bands and albums considered,, this is undoubtedly the most impressive progressive rock record of the decade for a variety of reasons, and I'm not going to waste time on a track by track review in order to explain them. Rather, I will simply point out a few basic strengths-

1. The vocals are perfect. No cheese, no "I'm Neal Morse and I'm 35 years old and I still sound like a nasal cunt" tripe that a lot of kids seem to eat up here; all we have here is pure harmonic bliss delivered yours truly a-cappela.

2. Some of the best recognizable and hummable musical motifs this side of the century. Seriously now, how is it that groups like Transatlantic or Porcupine Tree can slap together 10+ random tracks together and call it musically coherent/interesting, yet a perfect 31-minute epic such as 'Other Side of the Sky', with clear themes and reaccuring motifs that ALSO nod to other themes across the album, get ignored?

3. Instrumental versatility in spades, but without the usual boring keyboard runs and synthwork that characterize so many supposedly "great" bands today. Plus these guys, unlike many of bands you morons idealize, play memorably, which goes back to point #2 above.

The fact that this album wasn't #1 of 2008 is a sad testament to the inability of many so-called reviewers here to understand or appreciate something revolutionary when it actually hits the market, especially in such an oversaturated market as the progressive rock/metal genre.

Vocals, instrumentals, theme, musical cohesion, along with a thankful absence of that annoying Eddie Van Halen guitar-styling that every lead guitarist seems to have in prog. today...what more can you ask for in the crowning achievement of symphonic progressive rock from the last 10 years?

Listen and awaken to the wonder that lies within here.

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Send comments to Anteater (BETA) | Report this review (#252123)
Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am not an optimistic person. I am not a very positive and constructive type too. I am prone to see the empty half of the cup rather than the full one. Being diagnosed with depression, I'm not one to look for hippie happy music and start roaming about how much beauty there is in the world and how much we all need some love? In fact, I usually run away from such things. Much of the music I listen to is dark, depressing (in lyrics and mood) and melancholic. I do however listen to (and love) uplifting, upbeat and cheerful music. Though I do have a problem listening to saccharine and sweet lyrics.

Which is why I was somewhat surprised that the music and lyrics of Moon Safari have not turned off. In fact, Magic Pie's music and lyrics has done just that to me. It's so sweet and naively positive that it just ruins the music and the enjoyment for me. But for some reason, not only does Moon Safari's music cling with me; it has also become a favourite of mine. Its peaceful, positive vibe and cheerfulness have struck a chord within me. Their first album, A Doorway To Summer is a beautiful album filled with lovely tunes and I was looking forward to this double album. Indeed, they carry on what they started. In here as before, the music features their harmonic vocalizations, their sweet and beautiful melodies, their catchy tunes, the musicianship, their influences from before (Beatles, Beach Boys and glorified symphonic prog of old and new like Genesis and the Flower Kings), the clear production sound and the overall positive ambience.

So why do I, being the way I am, am clinging so tightly to music of this sort? Well, the answer is to be found in the music; in the resonance it creates with its haunting harmonies, its spellbinding tunes, magnificent keyboards work and stunning vocals. And you know what? Yes, in the positive vibe it spreads around it. When music beautiful such as this comes around, it breaks through barriers and stop signs that I naturally have and artificially put around. No, break is not what it does. It simply passes by. Yes it still sounds saccharine sweet. But in this case, the music won the battle. Even though one would think their music would be simplistic, that is not the case. First of all, the arrangements of the song suggest otherwise. The music is rich in sound, layers of instrumentation are found aplenty. There are ornaments that some of the instruments add in several songs (listen for instance to the piano playing in a song like Bluebells). The song structure is such that they develop the main theme, add more themes to accompany that one and link them all in a natural way. They make it sound easy to do, but I can assure you it's not. You might think, two discs is too much, one could suffice. Well that could very well be and will differ from person to person (I for one am very happy with both). But having two sides doesn't mean there is a discrepancy in the level of the output and that it's just more of the same. The quality is kept throughout the more then 100 minutes of music here and one can easily think of these as two separate albums and listen to them separately. In fact they introduce variety here with tracks like In the Countryside, with a folk approach. There is an acoustic relaxation moment with A Tale Of Three And Tree. They even get more upbeat and more energetic and noisy than usual in tracks like in the instrumental Moonwalk and the song Yasgur's Farm. The song The Ghost Of Flowers Past has a spellbinding beginning with an eastern-like sounding short melody. A melancholic feeling seems to invade small spots in a few songs, done in delicate touches, as if having a "feeling blue" moment throughout this long album. The aforementioned The Ghost Of Flowers Past is an example for this.

I know very well this album can be too much for some, too sweet or even too artificial. This is not an album for everyone. If this sort of music described above turns you off, walk on by. If you liked their first album, definitely get this one. If you like a peaceful, cheerful, charming and cute type of music, with emphasis on vocal harmonies and lovely tunes, do give this a try.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#253323)
Posted Saturday, November 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album, strangely enough, manages to sound like a mixture of very pompous vocal pop and intricately elaborate symphonic prog rock. I had not thought this mixture to be possible, but this release really manages to work around the discrepancies between the two styles to produce a very congruent sound. Amazing. The progressive part of the sound is incredibly well thought out, with the addition of lengthy melodic passages and the bizarre tempos that every progger is accustomed to. But it's the other part of the sound that makes this music so unusual. It sounds like it could be reorganized into Christmas carols. The vocals are unusually skillful and with a couple of happy guitars and keyboards here and there, an atmosphere of sugar-coated happiness is instantly created. Over abusing the major scale to the point where the music sometimes borders on the childish, it may be a let down for those with low tolerance levels for predictable melodies and overly euphoric tunes. However, if you have a taste for this kind of sound, this truly is a VERY worthwhile album.

Conclusion: Good progressive rock, but excessively happy and pompous. If only they had steered away from all the instant-happiness melodies, it would truly be a very good album.

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Send comments to EMLonergan (BETA) | Report this review (#254955)
Posted Tuesday, December 08, 2009 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars When I listened "Lover's End", was a bit disappointed, even when I liked the style and performance, the album left me cold, but being that MOON SAFARI plays the kind of music a Symphonic fan could die for, decided to get [Blomljud] and give the band another chance.

My greatest fear was the length of the album, it's hard to keep the interest of the listener for 90+ minutes. I remember the 70's with the limited time format of the LP, it was very common to see double albums, many of which had 50 or 60 minutes of great music and 30 minutes of fillers.

Once the CD appeared, the flexible time format made the double albums less common, ( I'm sure that if not all YES, at least Rick Wakeman would had been happy with a solid 50 minutes version of "Tales from Topographic Oceans" than with almost 90 minutes full of weak spots). Now the bands are able to make a long release without the need of filling an album with sub-standard material. But MOON SAFARI took a the risk, they released a double CD with more than 100 minutes of music with almost no weak moments.

The music in [Blomljud] is less pompous and brilliant than in "Lover's End", but I find much more coherence and original ideas, they lean towards an electro - acoustic side of Rock with the choirs being a fundamental part of the music. Even when I'm a fan of the excesses made by the Prog heroes and the abundant Mellotron solos (As any Proghead with blood on his veins), I like the blend of piano and synths, simply brilliant .

[Blomljud] starts with "Constant Bloom" or what I would call BEACH BOYS oriented Gregorian Chant, being that I have a weakness for "A Cappella" music, I like this short intro very much. But almost immediately MOON SAFARI takes us to a different scenario with the epic "Methuselah's Children", during 15 minutes the band takes us though a magic path with brilliantly structured music and radical changes, but always keeping the feet on the earth, the sound reminds me a lot of MAGENTA'S epic "Children of the Sun", but the band adds their own personality to create a new and unique product in which they manage to keep a perfect balance between adventurous and melodic.

"In the Countryside" is not my cup of tea, yes I admit the choirs are well done, but the music is not as strong as in the previous song, some of the softer moments remind me of four men GENESIS, specially of songs like "Entangled" (not one of my favourite styles), but again the performance is flawless and the ideas are coherent.

Progressive Rock is essentially fusion of styles and sounds and "Moonwalk" gives us all of this and more, starts aggressive and close to Hard Rock but immediately morphs into a soft display of beautiful melodies and lush keyboards solos combined with piano, another high point for the band, reminiscent of the best era of PENDRAGON ("Masquerade Overture") but with a unique edge.

Now it's time for my favourite track of disk 1; "Bluebells" is simply beautiful, has a distant resemblance with "ABWH" but better. My first impression was about the lead vocals, which were incredibly strong, but get's even better when all the backing vocals are added. The interplay between the instruments in a second plane is impressive, they manage to sound perfect but with the exact volume not to hide the voices, a very classy song.

Disk 1 ends with the mysterious "The Ghost of Flowers Past" where MOON SAFARI shows us a new facet and how versatile they can be, the keyboards (specially the melancholic Mellotron) are simply impressive, a powerful ending for the first disk.

CD 2 begins with another surprise, "Yasgur's Farm" is frantic as never before in the album, the organ, guitar and drums interplay is delightful but when the synth solo begins is even better, maybe the only weak point is in the vocals, too acute for my taste, but the perfect keyboards and fierce guitar almost made me forget this minor flaw.

As if the variations hadn't been enough the folksy and Medieval oriented "Lady of the Woodlands" caught me by surprise, again with some YES reminiscences (mainly Machine Messiah) but more ethnic, a nice change and another prove that MOON SAFARI can be absolutely versatile and unique when they want.

Now it's time for the longest song of the album, "Other Half of the Sky" a 31 minutes epic that didn't impressed me at the beginning, the first 5 minutes were extremely tedious and to be honest, I was tempted to press the skip button, but then everything changes radically, the song becomes vibrant and absolutely unpredictable, frenetic passages followed by calmed sections, guitar solos, amazing keyboards and a solid rhythm section, this the opposite to what I meant in my "Lover's End" review when I said that the album sounded empty and unoriginal, Other Half of the Sky is everything a fanatic of Progressive Rock and good music can expect, I don't care who influenced MOON SAFARI in this song (I listen a lot of Glass Hammer), because they give so much of themselves that the sound is absolutely unique, innovative and interesting. A highlight.

I believe that the band should had played "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" as a preparation for "Other Half of the Sky", being that such a soft and melodic song sounds too bland after the climax created by the previous track, not bad,even beautiful, but doesn't work as a closer.

Because a few minor flaws, I can't rate [Blomljud] with 5 stars, being that this rating should be left for perfect masterpieces, and even when the album is amazing, doesn't reach perfection. Sadly ProgArchives doesn't allow us to give the albums 4.5 stars, because that would had been the perfect rating, but whoever rates [Blomljud] with less than 4 solid stars, is unfair.

I believe I had the luck to listen "Lover's End" before [Blomljud], because I didn't expected such a great album after what I consider a weaker follower, and enjoyed it much more than I expected. Will be waiting with expectation the next release by this good Swedish band.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#339217)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was actually my first Moon Safari acquisition, although it's their second release. The first time I heard it I had no plans to sit and listen to the whole thing in its entirety, but at no point could I even think about stopping my Zune. When it was over, it took me a while to process everything that I'd just heard. Constant Bloom opens the album with vocal fireworks. Purely a capella and drop dead gorgeous. No studio magic, either - I saw a video of them on Youtube singing this in a street somewhere just for fun! The track blends into track2, opening up the lush, surreal world that is Methuselah's Children. The song is an absolute opus lyrically as well as musically. As far I can tell, it's about how ridiculous and wrong it is what lengths we go to just to try and stay young and live forever. The arrangement of the music along with the instrumentation is nothing short of majestic and at times seems like an enchanting fairy tale. The song is just so big on so many levels. After the first two tracks have you reeling, they follow up with an acoustic song called In the Countryside, which invites you to leave technology behind and lead a much simpler existence 'in the countryside'. Again, ridiculously catchy. I might end up using that word quite a bit about these guys! Next is Moonwalk, which as a really cool instrumental, leading up to Bluebells, which carries a very Celtic and folky feel to it, again lots of fun to listen to, until the a capella part, which is way beyond anything a group of humans should be able to even conceive. The next song, which is the last track of the two disc set is The Ghost of Flowers Past. Gorgeous song with the strongest ending of anything I've ever heard. Disc 2 starts with Yasgur's Farm. Pretty cool song with the best guitar solo on the album. Lady of the Woodlands follows, which songs like something from the medieval times...that sounds like an insult, but it's actually a great song, just showing off their diversity with very strong vocals. A Tale of Three and Tree is a fairy tale with an unhappy ending. Beautiful guitar work in this one. I've read reviews that talk about 'cheesy lyrics', but I really love this song. Not everything has to be serious and relevant to be interesting and fun, and this song proves it. Other Half of the Sky is the half-hour journey of the album, and what a journey! Again, lyrical genious, and the melodies are the stuff hits are made of. The harmonies, as great as they are, are just icing on the cake. the album to closes with To Sail Beyond the Sunset, which is pretty much just a relaxing piano arpeggio with a beautiful melody line over top of it. Some harmonies, but not too many. Bottom line...I've been a music fan for all of my 38 years; I grew up on the greats like Billy Joel, Queen, Styx and Journey. I've often said that no one writes a great melody like those guys anymore. I was so wrong! This album has had an impact on me like I never would have thought possible. It's not just their playing or songwriting, which is masterful, but their 'sound' itself is just stellar. You can't not love their sound. I hear many influences in their music and sound...Beatles, Styx, Kansas, Yes, Doobie Brothers, Eric Carmen, 10cc, with some Southern rock, Celtic, and a little country at times, but not enough of any of these to say that they 'ripped them off'. They definitely are an original, and a world class act.

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Send comments to oddworld (BETA) | Report this review (#340771)
Posted Thursday, December 02, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my first ever review on Progarchives so this is a new beginning ....

And that's what this album feels like ....

.... waking up to a bright new day

.... the start of spring after a harsh winter

.... finding new love after loneliness

.... a baby is born

Blomljud is life affirming and makes you remember why you fell in love with music.

Not everyone will like this album. In fact some of you may hate it. If you don't, you will love it.

This album is special and will in time come to be regarded in the same light as the classics from the very biggest names in progressive rock.

If you've not heard Moon Safari, listen to this album. It might just remind you of the first time you heard Genesis or Yes or whatever artist is your favourite.

I'm no musician so I can't do justice to the quality of music on offer - other than to say that the musicianship is excellent and the vocal harmonies stunning. I can only tell you how the album makes me feel ...

A new beginning that makes me want to smile, laugh and dance.

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Send comments to Proghamer (BETA) | Report this review (#342389)
Posted Saturday, December 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My first Moon Safari album was the one from 2010, and I was heavily disappointed by their music there: Beach Boys style multi-layered vocals in combination with pleasant, put openly pop tunes sounded as not bad vintage pop songs, but hardly had any relation with progressive rock.

Reading for endless good reviews from band's heavy fans ( strongest band's side is not musical, but their business one - there are not too many info about them in serious musical releases, but their support team just flooded all possible blogs with excellent reviews) , I decided to give the band another chance.

So, my next try was their previous album (it had few good reviews from independent reviewers, not only from fan-boys). First of all, this album is double one, but I listened it all few times. Main opinion - this album is really better,than their next one.

Again, I am far not a fan of keyboards-based simply romantic melodic synth pop music in the key of late Yes (but if compare I really prefer Yes albums from 80-s or 90-s, they at least are professional). So - one thing I found out from this double release: this album is possibly the reason why they are presented on PA at all. Yes, this music is silly but prog (symphonic) rock. But level of musicianship and compositions are still the same - semi-pro band.

I understand,that not everyone like complex compositions and too professional musicianship, some like their music to be very simple and very accessible. But I prefer more professional and less pop-oriented music.

So - 2,5, rounded to 3.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#343614)
Posted Sunday, December 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! Here's an incredible album!

When Moon Safari released Blomljud they were relatively unknown on Progarchives. They had only released their debut album "A Doorway to Summer" which was averagely rated. Then came Blomljud. If you thought Moon Safari's first album was good you were probably blown away! Who would have expected such a masterpiece from a little known band?

So many progressive rock band's songs are more on the depressing side with a melancholic feel to them. Bands like Van Der Graph Generator and King Crimson. But Moon Safari's just the opposite. How couldn't there songs be happy with there beautiful harmonies sung about summertime and other frivolous things. just look at these lines. "Hope's as high, as the sun today" and "Every day I turn a bit wiser, every day climbing a little higher and every day I turn more into someone I admire". The songs on Blomljud will give you a great feeling of optimism and joy.

As for the musicians Petter Sandström does an awesome job on the guitars and Simon Åkesson excellently plays the keyboards. My favorite track of the album is "Methuselah's children". "Methuselah's Children" takes the amazing vocals and combines it with the well played instruments to create a spectacular, and beautiful piece.

So do what you can to get this album! I completely recommend it! Stunning vocal harmonies, brilliant musicianship with a variety of instruments, and amazingly well written songs. That's Blomljud for you!

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Send comments to let prog reign (BETA) | Report this review (#349948)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Blomljud is probably one of the happiest albums ever made. The only way I could see someone not liking this album would be if they dont like being happy. The vocals set Moon Safari apart from other prog bands and they are really catchy. This album proves that an album doesnt have to be sad to be "emotional." The music is very clean symphonic progressive rock in the vein of bands like Yes with lots of keyboards, but I'm bad at describing music so I wont try other than to say that calling it "too poppy" is ridiculous. Anyone who says that must just hate being happy and associate happiness with popular music. Admittedly I more often emotionally connect with sad albums, but moon safari pulls off the positive emotional connection as well as any band I have heard. Normally I could pick out flaws even in an album that I love, but when I listen to Blomljud I'm too happy to notice any (other than maybe it runs too long). It's hard for me to recommend what kind of person will like this album because honestly I'm shocked that anyone could not connect with it, but if you are unsure then just listen to a sample online. I bought this album somewhat on blind faith in PA ratings and it is one of the best such purchases I have ever made.

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Send comments to rpe9p (BETA) | Report this review (#356198)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#377660)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me, this is the ultimate post-70s progressive rock album. This album is ambitious as anything, but did they ever pull it off. It lasts no less than 103 minutes, and includes a 31 minute epic track, which somehow manages to not overshadow the rest of the album. Though not every track is a masterpiece, it's not intended to be that way either. Even the weakest tracks have their rightful place on the album, and their absence would make the album feel incomplete. By the end of this album, you'll feel both delighted and satisfied, and I truly can't recommend it enough. I hope this band gains the recognition they deserve.

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Send comments to Slaughternalia (BETA) | Report this review (#407626)
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I purchased this double album and "A Doorway To Summer" (their debut) at the same time a few years ago. I reviewed the debut which I didn't like very much because of the high sugar content back in August of 2009. Well it's taken me this long to get up the nerve to review this one. What was holding me back besides not liking their style was knowing this was a double disc recording with over 100 minutes of syrup to wade through. I "get" that people really like this band and how positive and upbeat they are. It's all sunshine and harmonies.

"Constant Bloom" is a multi-vocal only intro piece. "Methuselah's Children" opens with keyboards, acoustic guitar and chirping birds. Synths join in then it kicks into gear around a minute. It does settle back and vocals arrive 3 minutes in.The tempo picks up before 12 minutes.The vocals are sappy a minute later. "In The Countryside" features acoustic guitar and light vocals with harmonies as a beat joins in. I can see the band skipping around a meadow in tights at this point. "Moonwalk" is a rare highlight for me. Spacey synths as drums build then some heavy organ joins in too. Guitar 1 1/2 minutes in then it calms down with piano. It does pick back up. "Bluebells" really says it all. Vocals and harmonies and a Country vibe. A pleasant and mellow tune. "The Ghost Of Flower's Past" has a full sound 1 1/2 minutes in followed by vocals before 2 minutes as it calms right down. A fairly sappy ballad really.

"Yasgur's Farm" starts off disc 2 and it starts well with the organ adding some depth. Piano then leads and vocals arrive 2 minutes in.This isn't nearly as good here. It does get better 5 minutes in with organ and guitar but then the lighter section with vocals returns. "Lady Of The Woodlands" has a Celtic flavour. "A Tale Of Three And Tree" is pastoral with fragile vocals.Yikes ! "Other Half of The Sky" is over 31 minutes of laid back music that does change as it weaves it's way through. "To Sail Beyond The Sunset' features some beautiful piano melodies.

Give me ANEKDOTEN, ANGLAGARD, LANDBERK and SINKADUS please !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#434448)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've got to admit to being a massive fan of this band, having discovered their latest album 'Lovers End', which I absolutely adore. The combination of killer melodies and beautiful harmonies really do rock my world!

'Lovers End' has been criticised for being more pop and less prog. I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment. I feel that the group as a whole is becoming more assured, more polished as they move forward and the quality of their musicianship and songwriting is absolutely superb. The music is still intricate and engaging. There are very obvious influences from groups as diverse as the Beach Boys, The Beatles, Yes and dare I mention the similarity to the vocal harmonies of Munchener Freiheit!

'Blomljud' is a very experimental album for the band. You can tell that they are beginning to flex their creative muscle in many of the compositions and it doesn't have the same polish or consistency of 'Lovers End'.

However, it is a great album with many, many highlights and shows massive potential for the future. I love the direction that this band is moving in at the moment. This is one of the very few groups left in the world for me whose material I would buy immediately without even thinking about it. I just know it is going to be fantastic. This is an excellent album, worthy of a solid four stars from one of my favourite bands around at the moment. I believe they have the potential to be a band with mass appeal, particularly if they can break the American market. As I said previously, I am a huge fan of this group. Great stuff!

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Send comments to Richens (BETA) | Report this review (#506960)
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Something about Blomljud remmindsme a lot the atmosphere of Grobschnitt´s Rockpommel's Land, wich means that the instrummental parts are very catchy, while the vocals are, well... You know what i mean, vocals are always difficult in prog, but sometimes, like in this case, it would be great listen only instrumental tracks. The difference from Grobschnit is that, here, we have more accurate instrumentalists - the guitar sounds almost like Howe´s. But do not expect heaviness: the hole album flows as a chanson, with few contrasts, wich make the album easy to listen and its very enjoyable, actually. Still, it is a superb album for those who like Symphonic Prog with "sugar": fine compositions, very melodic and Yes´s influenced dynammics. Neo prog fans will enjoy as well, specially because of the arrangements, with clean symphs/keyboards and "blazing" guitars.

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Send comments to desistindo (BETA) | Report this review (#534177)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars What if this is as good as it gets?

I certainly hope not anyway, but it could be true as the successor of this album was just not as good... I've been on this site for two years but only now have I decided to become a member, for what reason I'm not sure! I thought for my first review I would rate an album that I had just purchased and have been listening to, but I haven't listened to that album enough to write about it properly, so I'll just go with one of my most visited albums that I thoroughly enjoy. And that would be this!

Firstly, this album is magical, I have never heard consistently happy music such as this (but perhaps I haven't ventured far enough) before. Throughout this album you will only hear music that will make you happy. Even the slower, possibly 'sadder' parts such as A Tale of Three and Tree will not make you feel sad, because it's lovely. Actually, there are two bits in the epic that is angrier rock that lasts for more than a few seconds, but that's about it! And whatever other bits there are are soon gotten rid of. Fans of The Flower Kings will definitely enjoy this, I myself think that these dudes are better than them dudes, mostly because The Flower Kings tend to go off on tangents and noodle in some jazz, but there is no jazz in this album. Nothing's wrong with jazz either, but if you want idealistic nutter symphonic without that, here you have it! The only thing that you could find wrong with this album is that it could be too happy! Many reviews say that, so if you don't like the taste of honey then maybe this is not for you! (There is not a relationship between honey and this music other than both are really sweet)

Anywho, you've got vocal harmonies kicking off the album, and you'll be hearing these throughout the album, it's a nice song to start it off. The next song though is where it truly begins, Methuselah's Children begins with singing birds (perhaps a bit cliché?) and a classic piano giving the main theme, but soon come the keyboards and the tempo increases and the organ-esque keyboard comes in and so on and so on. It gets better to say the least! I should have got this album during the summer rather than the winter as the lyrics are exactly that, but it did pick me up during those winter months! In the Countryside comes in next, it's not one of the shining songs on the album, however the instrumental in the middle is very nice, and the outro as well, very peaceful.

Moonwalk brings on the completely instrumental song, and that riff will get stuck in your head because it's an ear worm, a nice one though! This instrumental also contains parts from songs throughout the album, but I had to revisit it to realise that, I'm not sure if they're cheating with that one or if they're pulling a Genesis, but they usually put their songs at the end of the album... where this song could also have fitted. The recordings of people orbiting the Earth are a nice touch and lead nicely onto the end of the song where it climaxes with that riff again, and you will not get sick of it. And a held note from the guitar leads onto Bluebells, another lovely song, it's so happy... etc.

I don't think I can go on song by song. The songs are just so cheerful that I'm not sure what else to say to help them sell to you, it's as if there is too much to say about them and at the same time not enough... you will get vocal harmonies and memorable melodies basically. If I could just bring your attention to, in my opinion, the two best songs on the album. The first is the first song on the second disc, Yasgur's Farm is just awesome. Fast-paced with a great guitar solo and talk about LSD, and based on the farm where Woodstock took place, the lyrics also talking about revolutions that take place with words rather than wars, which would be a beautiful thing if such a thing could actually be used to stop a war. Qucikly anyway.

And then you have the epic, one of my, if not my favorite epic. People have claimed that the 5 minute long acoustic intro may be a bit too much, and maybe on the first listen, but afterwards it seems to fit in perfectly with the rest of the song, because you hear inklings of it mentioned throughout the song, the one thing I haven't commented on either are the lyrics, throughout the album they can be seen as either intellectual or completely cheesy, but this songs lyrics are just great stuff, mainly if you may be like me and are afraid you're not doing enough, it portrays (what I think as) the typical person of today. There is also a happy part in this song which is written with 'sad' lyrics. The part that begins at six and a half minute mark and goes on for a few minutes is nearly too good, I have repeated that one part many times over and over again because it is so amazing. The whole songs is outstanding anyway, although one part they could have possibly shortened at about seven minutes towards the end would have made it flawless. I feel you can ruin songs by giving too much away, and I may have already spoiled this during my review, but there is one line at the end of the song which basically hit me inside when I first heard it in case it were true.

I'm probably just too soft, but I did give this five stars, I'll try be more sparing next time. And sorry if that was horrible, it was my first time! I'm sure some of you have said that before harhar. Too far...

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Send comments to Huseberry (BETA) | Report this review (#563184)
Posted Saturday, November 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Moon Safari: Blomljud [2008]

Rating: 8/10

Blomljud is the sophomore release from Swedish progressive-rock band Moon Safari. The band's debut A Doorway to Summer immediately showcased their signature sound. Moon Safari combines retro symphonic-rock with 50s-style vocal melodies to create an interesting new approach to the symph-prog genre. While I enjoyed that album, a lot of it was musically underdeveloped and emotionally shallow. Blomljud corrects these problems. Moon Safari's core sound has not changed; the title that translates to "Sound of Flowers", which should give you a decent idea of what to expect in terms of tone. However, the band has now added real substance to their already firmly-established style. This sprawling 100-minute double-album is filled to the brim with gorgeous vocal melodies, intelligent songwriting, and cheery sunshine.

"Constant Bloom" is a pretty barbershop-quartet style a-cappella intro. The 15-minute "Methuselah's Children" is absolutely phenomenal. Countless fantastic vocal melodies show up here, and the instrumentation is crisp and well-executed. "In the Countryside" is a folky track with more nice melodies. Lyrics about moving into the wilderness fit the music perfectly. "Moonwalk" is an instrumental piece that reprises and builds upon previous themes. Moon Safari sans vocals is quite strange, but it actually works quite well. "Bluebells" is another masterful piece. Yet again, the band manages to fill a long track with innumerable memorable vocal melodies. The acoustic guitar and piano work sounds fantastic, to boot. "The Ghost of Flowers Past" opens with a phenomenal synth solo. This track is more somber than the rest of the album, but it still features many fantastic melodies. "Yasgur's Farm" may be the best song Moon Safari has done thus far. This is everything the band does best: infectious vocal hooks combined with an epic symphonic sound. "Lady of the Woodlands" is a medieval folk piece. This track is so much fun that it makes me forget how cheesy it is. "The Tale of Three and Tree" is a rather uninteresting short ballad. "Other Half of the Sky" is a sprawling half-hour epic. This is an excellent track, but it falls just the tiniest bit short. There are multiple fantastic ideas at play here, but they fail to completely pan out within the hugely extended format. Regardless, this is still a superb piece. "To Sail the Beyond the Sunset" is a nice closing piece, but I wish that the album would have ended on a more dynamic note.

Blomljud is an absolutely fantastic album that has given me full respect for this young Swedish band. I'm extremely tempted to give this a full-on masterpiece rating, but a few less-than-fantastic songs and the slightly underwhelming nature of the epic track hold back my hand from doing so. Although this album may not be an absolute masterwork, I still cannot recommend it enough. A word of warning, however: this album is not for everyone. Anybody who is unable to enjoy light vocal hooks and an insatiably cheery atmosphere should avoid this thing at all costs. Those who appreciate such things should not let it pass them by, however. Blomljud is Moon Safari's magnum opus: an epic collection of sunshine-filled "Beach Boys prog" with a no shortage of beautiful melodies.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#600594)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This double album, being no doubt the best in the musical career of the band (up to now), leaves, however, rather mixed feeling. Disc One is simply brilliant. Short intro a la BEACH BOYS followed by fantastic Methuselah's Children that resembles the early years of YES, followed by mellow In The Countryside, followed by romantic Moonwalk (my personal favorite), give an impression of a never ending holiday. Music is bright and optimistic unlike the most Scandinavian bands do. Solid performance, strong vocal harmonies, excellent production quality make this release one of the best sympho-prog albums of the year. Disc Two opens with the sense that you've heard all that stuff already. Nothing new, just the cover version of the Disc 1. Even epic Other Half Of The Sky fails to smooth this feeling - a bit boring. Overall, 5 stars for Disc1 + 3 stars for Disc 2 = 4 stars total!

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Send comments to groon (BETA) | Report this review (#776847)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sweden has been at the forefront of progressive rock since the 90's and has been consistent ever since. Moon Safari continues this trend with the epic double album Blomljud. Here we see a major Yes and Genesis influence, with a sound very similar to their Swedish cousins The Flower Kings. Despite this, Moon Safari acquire a very unique sound on this album.

The album is very cheerful, and upbeat; so much so that some people may be turned off by it. You won't find the intricacy of bands like Gentle Giant or Dream Theater. but they more than make up for that with very symphonic and melodic sections. Perhaps the thing that drew me most to the album is the vocals. I find many prog groups have less than amazing vocals that are often annoying. The vocals on this album are very unique, multi-layered and in a format not unlike Barbershop. The best way to describe the vocal style is a combination of The Beach Boys, Queen, and perhaps even a hint of Brad Delp from Boston. Overall, the vocals add more to the album than most other prog groups do.

The album is also great instrumentally, focusing heavily on melody. The best example of this is on the purely instrumental "Moonwalk." Like most of other double albums, Blomljud does suffer slightly from longevity, especially in the second disc. "Lady of the Woodlands", "A Tale of Three and Tree", "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" and "In the Countryside" are average tracks at best, but the remaining songs more than overshadow this.

Although I usually don't pay too much attention to lyrics, they are mostly positive and coincide with the happiness of the album.

Definitely a well-made album with great melodic passages and strong harmonic vocals which should please any fan of happy symphonic prog. 9/10

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Send comments to Mr. Mustard (BETA) | Report this review (#781671)
Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars (Note: This review was written nearly four years ago, but not posted on Prog. Archives until now. It has been slightly updated).

Over the last 30 years, "popular" rock and "alternative rock" music have not been particularly fertile fields for me. A few great bands have emerged with U2 leading the way. Progressive rock has continued, but in a limited and obscure manner, centered mostly in Europe (with Neil Morse/Spock's Beard being one great US exception).

Although some truly excellent music has sprung up over the last thirty years from this ongoing progressive rock movement, there has not been anything, for me, that has captured the pure magic of the early years of Yes, vintage Genesis, Gentle Giant; etc., until now!!!!! That CD is "Blomljud" by Moon Safari.

To receive this exalted status, a new CD from a band must be at such a high level that I would have to consider it a MASTERPIECE. I reserve this designation for only a handful of records/CDs over the last 45 years (see the Prog. Archives top 20 of all time).

A new masterpiece for me (equal to the giants of the past) would be a blend of the emotional depth and compositional prowess of 'Yes,' the musical sensibilities and subtlety of 'Camel,' the sweetness of the very best of 'Ambrosia,' along with the genius and philosophy of early 'Genesis' music.

If you could take all of this musical greatness and combine it with the vocal wonders of 'The Association," "Four Seasons" or "Beach Boys,' then you would have musical Nirvana.

And now we have just that! Once again, the band is 'Moon Safari' and the CD is "Blomljud." "Blomljud" is Swedish for, 'the sounds of flowers.'

If ever music was an ever opening flower, this is it! This CD contains 100 minutes (on two CDs) of some of the most blissful music EVER made! And to think that these 'Moon Safari' musicians are only kids (compared to me) in their late twenties/early thirties, from Sweden, takes me back to the early days of 'Yes.' Their music lifts the spirit to dazzling heights!

This is progressive rock music at its finest. You will love much of it immediately but most of its greatness will become apparent over time and after many spins. The lyrics are beautiful, wise, uplifting and even spiritual. Although every piece on the CD is superb, the thirty-one minute epic, 'The Other Half of the Sky' is a true Magnum Opus. Moon Safari's "Blomljud" is what I consider to be near perfect music.

Having seen Yes for the first time in 1972 and nearly 100 times since, along with seeing all of the giants of prog. play live many times back in the 70's, I now listen to and evaluate new music from that exalted perspective.

With Blonljud, (along with the likewise exceptional Lover's End CD, including the recently released Lover's End Part III) Moon Safari joins, in my opinion, Yes, The Beatles, Genesis, The Byrds, Camel, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Renaissance and U2 as one of my "best bands" of all time. THANK YOU MOON SAFARI!!!!!!

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Send comments to dhsuhaka (BETA) | Report this review (#819055)
Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Review Permalink
Gerinski
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Medicine and some exotic cooking have examples of ingredients which in big doses can be lethal but in carefully controlled doses can do wonders. Similarly this album contains ingredients which are potentially dangerous for good prog: it's super-melodic, accessible, with near-poppy melodies, sweet, happy, folky, derivative, regressive, and yet every potentially dangerous element is used just in the right measure and the result works for me to the point that, not without some hesitation, I am giving Moon Safari's Blomljud the highest score.

A sophomore double CD of more than 100 minutes is a bold challenge, even our beloved 70's superbands frequently couldn't help having some filler in their double albums, but Moon Safari managed to fill those 100 minutes with top quality music, nothing feels like filler to me here.

The music is a perfect blend of modern symphonic (think something like the light side of Neal Morse, not the heavy Sola Scriptura but something more along the lines of Lifeline, or Glass Hammer or Simon Says Tardigrade) with clear classic symphonic influences from Yes and Genesis, and tinted with an acoustic folk happy feel. And then the icing on the cake, those trademark wonderful multilayered vocal harmonies all over the place, which depending on the moment can remind of either Queen, Yes, The Beach Boys or ELO. I think that I did not hear such great vocal works since Queen's A Day At The Races.

The abundance of acoustic guitar, piano, sweet vocals and little distortion are deceptive and make the album feel very folky and relaxed on first listens, but when you pay attention the album has much more energy than it initially felt like.

"Methuselah's Children" with its a capella intro "Constant Bloom" are a modern masterpiece, blending energy and sensitivity in perfect balance. "In the countryside" is acoustic and folky, with very good melodies and a lovely final vocal cannon.

"Moonwalk" is a fantastic instrumental, starting with a menacing organ riff and then switching to more melodical forms.

"Bluebells" is again full of acoustic guitar and piano, but it has beat, in some ways it reminds me of Brian May songs in the classic Queen period like '39 and it has also some great vocals sections.

"The Ghost Of Flowers Past" is an excellent good prog song, only hampered by some excessively pop-sounding melodical lines for my taste, some sections remind me of ELO.

On to the 2nd CD, "Yasgur's Farm" is a very energetic track showing obvious Yes influences, and the same can be said of "Lady Of The Woodlands" with a verse reminding of Yes "Machine Messiah", great stuff.

"A Tale Of Three and Tree" is mellow and soft, a good contrast to the previous two energetic tracks and with nice lyrics.

Then we have the 31 minutes suite "Half Side Of The Sky", it may not be Supper's Ready but it's actually a great song with a lot to offer if you listen to it carefully. Simply wonderful.

The album closes with the calm "To Sail Beyond The Sunset", which has some overtones of The Lamb's 'The Carpet Crawlers".

If this double album was released in the 70's it would be undoubtedly hailed as a timeless masterpiece. Of course being a symphonic retro album released in 2008 it can never score high in originality or innovation, I don't know if within 30 years it will feel like Foxtrot or A Night At The Opera, time will tell but I still rate it with 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.

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Send comments to Gerinski (BETA) | Report this review (#869555)
Posted Saturday, December 01, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm really impressed with this group. I met it purely by chance throught this site and I have to say that from now on it will become one of my favs from all time. These guys are awesome. Only by taking into account their vocal harmonies they will worth the best "a capella" prizes, but taking the music as a whole I have to say that they are in the borderline of perfection. I don't know how they compose the music, but I think it's even above the classics in terms of quality and instrumentation. I firmly believe that this is one of the best prog-rock albums so far. You have to listen to them if you are really interested in music, no matter the style or register. Here you have a real masterpiece full of details and love.

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Send comments to waghler (BETA) | Report this review (#889573)
Posted Monday, January 07, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Moon Safari can at least claim to have brought something new to the table when it comes to Swedish symphonic prog bands with strong 1970s influences, in the sense that they're really quite handy when it comes to close harmony singing. The Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young of prog? Well, not quite, but there's a lighthearted, carefree air to the album which does at points rather remind me of the first CSN album. That said, I can't say that 100 minutes or so of this sort of material is really something I can listen to in one sitting, and to be honest, even half an hour of it begins to pall eventually. They're a charming little band, but they rather lack bite and verve and their unrelentingly sunny demeanour begins to get monotonous after a while. Never have I heard less emotional range in 100 minutes of music than on here.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#898355)
Posted Thursday, January 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars Just around the time Moon Safari were enjoying the relative success following their debut album, guitarist Anthon Johansson decided to leave the group.From this point the band starts to become a family affair with the addition of Simon Akesson's brother Pondus on guitars and vocals.Moon Safari recorded their sophomore album ''[blomljud]'' in two different studios in two different periods and this was released at the dawn of the spring of 2008 on Blomljud Records.

''A doorway to summer'' showed a band with talent and great songwriting skills and the new Moon Safari album seems like an excellent step forwards.A 2-CD offering, that finds the band more mature with developed composing quality and an incredible capability on instrumental passages and vocal harmonies.Split in short tracks and long epics, highlighted by the 31-min. opus ''Other half of the sky'', ''[blomljud]'' is characterized by its obvious nostalgic flavors of the Symphonic Rock of the 70's, borrowing elements from the music of YES, GENTLE GIANT and GENESIS, transformed into the new age of modern productions and crystal-clear sounds.The music is super-tight Symphonic Rock with pleasant orchestrations, tons of changing climates and an optimistic atmosphere, led by the constant use of analog keyboards and sweet milti-vocal harmonies.Interplays and solos are endless with a dynamic and rich sound followed by salvation, melodic textures filled with acoustic guitars, sensitive solos and delightful moog synthesizers.The majority of the album swirls around the impressive keyboard interludes and piano lines of Simon Akesson, usually offered through double or even triple layers and amazingly blended with a solid rhythm section, more traditional and acoustic sounds and striking electric guitars full of passion.The absolute highlight remains the very long track of the second CD, a superb symphonic-inclined piece of Rock music, that suffers from originality, but creates rare emotions among its technical and indulgent parts of highly complicated musicianship.

A beautiful, very mature and memorable album along the lines of THE FLOWER KINGS or SPOCK'S BEARD.100 minutes of consistent, artistic and sensational Progressive Rock music, that flows easier than the water in the river.Amazing and highly recommended stuff.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#972214)
Posted Thursday, June 06, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember the first time I heard this album ...the acapella of "Constant Bloom" bursting through my headphones ... I knew within seconds that this was something very special. The 86 seconds passing so quickly I could not completely absorb the experience before the beautiful explosion of sound that is the introduction to "Methuselah's Children" came in to herald a whole new, altogether longer musical sensation. This is a song that sets the whole tone for the album - a celebration of all that is great and joyous about the world we live in, almost biblical and reverential in its fervour for life, it is the song that literally lays out in blueprint the Moon Safari approach to music. After almost 16 minutes "Methuselah's Children" ends with an epic climax courtesy of Pontus Åkesson's glorious guitar work and we enter track 3, the escapist anthem " In The Countryside". The band ask you to follow them to the countryside and with music like this, most of us will surely follow! Track 4 is the instrumental "Moonwalk" which has become both a live staple and the band's unofficial theme tune. It continues and expands the uplifting feel over virtually 9 minutes of undulating musical hinterland. "Bluebells" showcases more superb vocal harmonies, which sound particularly impressive through the headphones and which will have you "dancing on the feet of a miracle while winter's growing cold". Disc 1 concludes with the stunning "The Ghost Of Flowers Past", which starts with some quietly beautiful piano from Simon Åkesson but ends in a manner that will send shivers down your spine: "I will meet you again on the shores where lovers run". "Yasgur's Farm" is the band's perspective on Woodstock, yet also manages to reference elements of both Yes and the vocal arrangements of Gene Puerling. Although the influences on Moon Safari are often clear, the diversity and mix of those influences, when added to the unique MS approach, lead to a sound which is distinctively their own whilst also feeling familiar. Two short tracks in "Lady Of The Woodlands" and " A Tale Of Three And Tree" are a pleasant diversion before the 31 minutes plus epic that is "Other Half Of The Sky". This is a track that naturally requires repeated playing before it can be absorbed fully but it is worth the effort. The track does fly past once you are familiar with it. There are so many great moments. The line "did you fill them pages with a meaning to it all, or did summer turn to fall?" is sung in such a way that you want to punch the air with joy - that is the effect Moon Safari have on you - unrestrained joy. Another classic moment is the final note sung in the song: "I am tired of the past, but it feels like this will last..." There's still time for the gentle "To Sail Beyond The Sunset" and, if you have the Japanese edition, the tribute to Gene Puerling, "A Song For Gene". One of my favourite albums of all time. One of my favourite bands of all time.

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Send comments to Nrwhmr (BETA) | Report this review (#1066163)
Posted Friday, October 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars The second release from Moon Safari depicts the band on an ambitious creative journey known simply as [Blomljud]. One might only wonder why they didn't take more time to work on the album cover...

The album features over 100 minutes of music raging from soft ballads, to playful instrumentals and epics so there is sure to be something for everyone here! The first CD starts off with the beautiful a capella number titled Constant Bloom, try to remember this melody since it will be reprised on quite a few occasions through the album. I really like this idea of repeating the signature melody through the album and thus keeping the feeling of a well-rounded concept album in place, even though the material itself might not always feel as such. Methuselah's Children is another winner, which is great considering it's the second longest track off the album. The song is comprised out of several sections that work very well on their own but there is still somewhat of a disjointed feeling between them, luckily it doesn't really ruin the overall composition for me.

In The Countryside is where the band begin to show signs of somewhat lackluster songwriting, this was of course bound to happen on an album that features this much material. I simply lack the punch to this song, even if the vocal harmonies are just as impressive as ever. Luckily it doesn't take long for Moon Safari to regain my interest since the next track is an instrumental and it's a good one! Moonwalk is a great interlude between the lengthy vocal-centered tracks and serves as an excellent intro to my personal favorite track - Bluebells. This is what I call excellent songwriting done right! Even transitions between the different sections work surprisingly well as the band covers a wide range of influences and brings their own approach to melodic songwriting that was perfected by bands like the Beatles.

The Ghost Of Flowers Past is another great moment that will surely make fans of the Flower Kings quite happy since it clearly sounds like something that Moon Safari have lifted from their repertoire. If only the source material could have been equally as inspiring, unfortunately I've never really been a fan of the Flower Kings due to their overindulgence in lengthy instrumental sections that are, more often than not, void of any excitement for me.

I would have preferred if Moon Safari have stop while they were ahead and release the album as a single CD, since the second half is good but far from as imaginary as the first. Yasgur's Farm has never really struck me as a great track. I do enjoy most of its sections, especially the last part, but it just doesn't bring the same satisfaction as any of the previous compositions. Lady Of The Woodlands and A Tale Of Three And Tree are two shorter tracks that could have easily been left out since they do little but extend the album's duration. That is not to say that they are not pleasant, just that this doesn't seem to be the right place nor the right time for these songs.

Other Half Of The Sky takes up almost a third of the album's playtime as Moon Safari embark on their most ambitious journey yet! This 31 minute monster of a composition might feel quite tough to swallow after listening to almost 70 minutes of material, but if you give it a few spins then its charms will unveil themselves. I cannot say that I consider it to be as great as their other compositions but it's definitely an improvement, in terms of layered songwriting, over We Spin The World from the debut album. To Sail Beyond The Sunset ends the album on a somewhat unsatisfying note since I feel that it lacks the punch that I would expect from the final track off an album of these magnum proportions.

So, have Moon Safari succeeded with their ambitious plan? I definitely think so! Still, an album of these proportions is bound to have some moments that don't feel on par with the rest of the material. I would have probably recommended the band to shorten that album by roughly 30 minutes and release it as a 70-80 minute record. Discarding material is something that young band rarely do since it does takes a great deal of sacrificing for the good of the overall result and this is a lesson that takes time to learn. As it stands today, [Blomljud] is an excellent sophomore release that will unveil many of the band's strengths but also depicts some of their weaknesses.

***** star songs: Constant Bloom (1:26) Methuselah's Children (15:42) Bluebells (10:11) The Ghost Of Flowers Past (9:47)

**** star songs: Moonwalk (8:48) Yasgur's Farm (8:05) Lady Of The Woodlands (3:36) Other Half Of The Sky (31:42)

*** star songs: In The Countryside (5:42) A Tale Of Three And Tree (3:28) To Sail Beyond The Sunset (5:18)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#1110762)
Posted Wednesday, January 08, 2014 | Review Permalink

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