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Moon Safari - Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteċ Serenade CD (album) cover


Moon Safari

Symphonic Prog

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5 stars Moon Safari really returned to their former glory on this one. That's not to say that Lover's End was a bad release, it just lacked the grandiosity of previous releases.

Once again, they have combined the things I love best about summery pop music, cheesy ballads, and wonky prog rock. Their clean production, buttery smooth vocals, and obnoxiously joyous melodies tie together very well in this epic track and make for another phenomenal piece of music.

However, as with much of this band's work, one must be in the right mindset to truly enjoy it. Not only do you have to look past the corniness, YOU MUST EMBRACE IT. If you feel like you're up to this task, definitely check out this EP. It has kept me hungry for more Moon Safari.

Report this review (#816178)
Posted Friday, September 7, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars How is it possible that Moon Safari can alter the perception of time?

I was DELIGHTED, a few nights back, to see that "Lover's End 3" was out on the "Progstreaming" web site.

From 11:00 p.m. till four in the morning I listened to it "8" times. I am blessed to own the world's finest headphones and headphone amp which allow me to hear all of the musical nuances of this absolute masterpiece.

As to the perception of time, how is that this 24 minute epic can feel like 4 minutes of actual listening time. Moon Safari are true musical geniuses!!!!!!! The music is completely addictive!

"Lover's End 3" is a perfect blend of "Lover's End 1/A Kid Called Panic" with "The Other Half of the Sky," the two epics from their two previous releases.

With the inclusion of this Magnum Opus to the Lover's End CD, Moon Safari have done the near impossible; they have eclipsed "Bloomljud" (Moon Safari's Second release) as the finest rock music CD I have heard in many years and places them right up there with the great progressive rock music heavyweights of all time.

What splendor, what emotion, what vocal beauty and majesty, what perfect music!!! What else can I say!!!!!!! But that I could only beam myself to Europe for the Moon Safari tour.

INCREDIBLE JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#817455)
Posted Sunday, September 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Or is this as good as it gets?

Well, I was contacted by a fellow Safarinaut to write a review about this magnificent EP, as I have given it a 5 star rating, but with no explanation why. I think mostly it was because of my horrible penmanship but I'll give it another whirl for my favorite epic.

Yes, my favorite epic. I may be stoned for that but I'll risk it; I am now writing this more than a year after the release of this music and I still believe this epic is the best I have ever heard. Why? Because of how beautiful it is, as well as its constant flow, and because it does not sound like a 'progressive epic'. I'm not sure that I can convey it properly; this song can sound simplistic, even when it is very complex. I mean, I'm sure it must have been incredibly hard to make this song flow so well, but boy does it do it so well. I am not a musician, so I can't go into the technicality of anything I hear in much depth, but this song makes me say, 'This is amazing' because of how beautiful I find it, not because a solo was amazing (even though the solos are still amazing!). I hope you can understand what I mean.

So, what can I possibly add to what everyone else has said before me? I'm not sure I can add anything, but when a 24 minute long song makes you yearn for more because you didn't want it to end, then you know it's something special. When you keep listening to it constantly, you know it's something special. This is something special to me.

One thing I love about this song is that it really does prove that all you need is one theme to make an epic great. I love how the theme at the beginning of the song is reiterated flawlessly throughout the rest of the track, so much so that you only really notice with repeated listens. I love how relatable the message of the song is to basically anyone who hears it. I love how this song makes me feel when I listen to it, and I don't want to spoil it on you. I love how I'm pulling a 'When Harry Met Sally' here. Basically, I love this song. I hope you pick it up so you can fall in love with it and let it break your heart... in a good way?

At the end of their last epic, Moon Safari asked us, 'What if this is as good as it gets?'. Well, it got better alright, at least in my opinion! This song makes me nod my head to the beat of one part, bounce around to the music at another, and sit back and admire at the next. Is there anything bad about it? Nope, this is a masterpiece, to me at least. So go out and get it, I will be seriously surprised if you don't like it, but in order to fully enjoy it, make sure you have listened to Lover's End, mainly the first and second parts of the title song, as well as Crossed the Rubicon.

So, is this as good as it gets? I severely doubt it, and I can't wait to be amazed again by this outstanding band. You know that I love you guys. You know that it's true!

Report this review (#818623)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars And, continuing in my clearly established vein of poorly written reviews:

This band and song might not be to everyone's taste; but I think that this is really an exceptional release. - This song just flows beautifully; there does not seem to be anything forced about it at all. The arrangement is fantastic, and the lead and harmony vocals and melody lines are wonderful!

I initially got "Lover's End" when I was in the wrong "head-space" for it , and kind of missed out on how good the album is. But thanks to the tip of fellow progger and reviewer dhsuhaka to check this out on progstreaming, I'm really coming to appreciate this record quite a lot.

With part III, I'm sometimes reminded of the Dream Academy, A.C.T, Brighteye Brison, Neal Morse/Transatlantic, etc., but this song certainly stands on its own merit.

My advice: Since you can go to progstreaming and check it out for yourself, you have nothing to lose by giving this song a "test-drive"!!! - You just might be as pleasantly surprised as I was!!!

4.7 to maybe 5 stars - I'm going to round up for this one. (Hey, it might not be "Close to the Edge", but it certainly kept my attention and made me smile!)

Grace and peace,

Cylli Kat

Report this review (#821215)
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Skelleftea Serenade probably should have been the song that would have made Lover's End a double would have made sense. However, I've come to the conclusion that they did the right thing in making us wait for it. 2 years after the release of Lover's End, we are brought back to revisit Mary. It's a bittersweet reunion, and they've managed to capture the same dose of melancholy and beauty as in the previous chapters of the story, but they've magnified it somehow. It's definitely a rollercoaster ride of an epic, taking the best melodies of Pts. 1 and 2 and sprinkling them into different sections of this song. It should be said, however, that there is enough fresh and original material in this track that it can't be discounted as a 'rehash' of what they had previously done; all of the melodies are, as with everything else these guys do, infectious...once you hear them, you'll have them in your head for hours to come. Lyrically, as well as musically, it's another work of genius, and the playing...each member brought their best playing to the record, and this time around, they weren't afraid to really 'rip up their instruments.' I find it unbelievable the way that they can capture so much emotion and convey it to the listener via a recording; in one part about 15 minutes into the song, Simon Akesson 'borrows' the flute's melody at the end of Pt. 1, and uses it for his vocal melody line; between the words that he's singing and the passion in his voice, you feel like you are the one who sees Mary on the street after all those years went by. Did you ever come across an old lover that you never got over and stop to talk to her? Remember that chilly, uneasy feeling you had in that moment? Simon takes you right back there, and it has to be heard to be believed. Bottom line...this is yet another masterpiece from a band who is growing by leaps and bounds with every release, and it is really cool to hear what they are growing into. If you haven't heard anything else by them, by all means, don't make this your first...go out and least buy Lover's End first, because the more familiar you are with that album, the more amazing Lover's End Pt. 3 will be for you.

On a side note, I read a review of this release that said 'you have to look past the cheesy stuff', or something like that. I found nothing in this song that would fit that description; when the music is that well-written, the instrumentation is a beautiful as it is here, the lyrics are as profound and witty as they can be, and the whole thing is played and sung to jaw-dropping perfection, there can be nothing cheesy about it. This is 25 minutes of a perfect listening experience. Very well done, boys!

Report this review (#835609)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars There's not much to say about this song. It has amazing melodies and arrangements. The vocal harmonies are charming as ever. This is probably Moon Safari's best product, everything was perfected here. The Moon Safari sound is at it's finest. The best parts from The parts I & II of Lover's End appeared in this part (at least variations of it).

But at the end, the one thing that really matters is whether this track is fun to listen to, if you can listen to it from start to end, and if it will still sound great and interesting after a few listens, and after time has passed.

The answer is YES.

If you are looking at a place to start with Moon Safari, and you are not afraid of epics, this is it.

Report this review (#899291)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This song is 24+ minutes of enjoyable time. So if you hate traffic, are waiting in the doctors office, bored stiff at work, etc... listen here... I have been listening to this song on a practically daily basis since its been released. It has such a remarkable magic quality to it that from start to finish I am in shock 24+ minutes has passed. Everything flows beautifully. The vocals, harmonies, lyrics, instrumental passages, solos, all have an exceptional way of creating an epic length song without any filler or forced sections. See the thing is with this song, its a classic. Not just today, tomorrow, in 1973, or 30 years from, but always will be. It easily rivals with any symphonic epic of any period, and in my opinion surpasses. I would give up most of my music collection for this song alone. I highly recommend it, and will continue to sing its praise. Please moon safari do not forget the power of prog, just like this masterpiece you have crafted.
Report this review (#1005375)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Progressive Rock complacent? Yes, and magnificent.

Maintains constant intensity, changes are never abrupt and with good development in ideas. The vocalizations and harmonies, as always, are poignant. The lyrics are lovely sadness. Paradoxically convey happiness.

Sunny, bright, harmless. Excellent music composition and arrangements, without fanfare or excesses. There are also nice touches of energy and musical tension. One of these extensive epic that seem not extend more than 20 minutes, because it flows clear and consistently. Even in the end I left with the bittersweet taste of wanting to hear more, but achieves the desired objective.

A work of art should not only be perfect because there is nothing objectionable in it, but for their qualities, strengths and merits. Skelleftea Serenade is a masterpiece in every way.

Report this review (#1041108)
Posted Saturday, September 21, 2013 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars So the Moon Safari did it again. From their first album "A Doorway to Summer" in 2005, which is good (but not the best) to their big success called "Blomljud" in 2008, to their 2010 equally (a tiny wee bit less likeable than previous album) great album "Lover's End" and through their first official live album "The Gettysburg Address". There I was quite worried about how their gonna pull it out. After all, their music is all about reaching perfection, seamless vocal harmonies, which I suppose is done by very careful studio recording, which takes a lot of time. It has to, otherwise it wouldn't sound perfect. But live album is, well, live. They've got only one try to make it right. It went on fine fortunately. So though their latest album "Himlabacken Vol.1" is a bit step down for me (but step down from perfection to still really good album - like from TLLDoB to "A Trick of the Tail").

The introductions are over, then where it leaves this album ? I'd rather think of this as a full album. Take for example 70s albums - you could find one sided "epic" track and the other side filled with 4-7 smaller tracks. This is is, sans the smaller tracks. And I always prefered the epics more anyway.

It's all there: beautiful / yet sad lyrics complex / yet melodic music long song / yet it doesn't feel boring non-native speakers / yet having good accents (AFAIK) another delivery of theirs / yet doesn't feel like "they've done this already".

Though there is at least one part which I think is a borrowing from their previous work. But it has different lyrics, somehow changed structure or something like that, besides it's just one part.

What remains the same is (let's face it) pessimistic lyrics, forlorn hope to the love that could have been, but didn't work out. Each of us knows this, it strikes us directly into our souls I dare to say. Yet, although so sad, it doesn't feel depressive. The same with "A Kid Called Panic", which frankly I find quite similar lyrically.

Also, if someone tries to tell me that he remains unmoved by the part starting at 14:42 and ending somewhere at 18:02, then there's a message for you man - "You've got no heart". That part is morphing into another part in the Skellefteċ story.

5 stars, can't really go lower. I can listen this album repeatedly, like to returning to it, it has all the good elements mentioned above.

Report this review (#1044611)
Posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm swept away by a river of sparkling, cheese-filled childhood nostalgia with this epic from Moon Safari. Yes, I said it, sparkling, cheesy nostalgia. If you don't feel like a love struck little girl after listening to this track, you're in denial. This ability is this band's greatest strength, and I mean that in the very best way. In a band where all 6 members can and do sing together, would you expect anything else?

The performances from start to finish are as fine as you would ever hope to hear on any symphonic prog record. High-flying and even virtuosic sounding solos sprinkled throughout always remain satisfying after multiple listens. The characteristically rich vocal harmonies are well mixed, taking center stage as they should be. I admittedly find myself compelled to sing along during several key moments where cheesy lyrics meet a powerful melody and progression. Odd time signatures are used sparingly throughout, but when they are used they are not abused, generally lasting only a few bars before returning to a 3 or 4 feel. This serves the band tremendously on this epic emotive track.

If approached as what it is, there is nothing here not to love. This time the glitter and cheese wins. Lover's End Pt. III is essential: a masterpiece of modern symphonic prog.

Report this review (#1066301)
Posted Friday, October 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Lover's End Part III - Skellefteċ Serenade" is probably Moon Safari's finest recorded moment to date. That is no mean achievement as the band have already laid to disc many memorable epics. This song brings together all the best aspects of the band's output in one stunning 24 minute masterpiece, which shows the growing maturity in their writing, performance and production technique. Put simply Moon Safari have never sounded as good as this. The musical excellence is supplemented and enhanced by personal and articulate lyrics which can work on several levels for the listener. After a slow but seductive intro featuring a classic Simon Ċkesson keyboard hook, the song builds tempo and Petter Sandström's vocals paint a scene of glorious despair set in the band's hometown of Skellefteċ: "The lonely lover's just arrived. He's tearing every doorway down and invites the darkness again." Despair yes but not without hope as "today we'll make a new Jerusalem". The emotional power of the song, as with so many Moon Safari songs, lies with the bitter sweetness of the lyrics. Sadness is never far from hope but hope is also never far from sadness. As if to underline this, a sweeping keyboard passage, almost orchestral in nature, takes the song into another phase of melancholy. This doesn't last long as the band take the passage into a strident positive upbeat tempo before asking plaintively "why does the sun shine?" and "why does the world spin"? This takes us into the story of Rubber Feet. Johan Westerlund explains: "Rubber Feet is a local legend from our small village outside Skellefteċ, Bergsbyn. When we grew up he was already very old and certainly an outsider. He lived in a run-down old house and spent his days riding his bike around all over Skellefteċ and collecting cans". Rubber Feet's demise is used as a metaphor for the decline of the town of Skellefteċ, where "the only movement is by the driftwood down the river". Ironically, the melody that accompanies these lyrics is one of the strongest and catchiest you will ever hear. The music is so good at this point that you start to feel it can't continue at this quality but you would be wrong as a jaw dropping instrumental passage of quite stunning brilliance raises the bar even higher. As this passage comes to an end the song returns neatly to the earlier lyrical and musical themes of not only this song but also those of Lover's End Parts 1 & II. "But you know that I love you" is perhaps a line you would hear in the songs of many artists. You will not, however, hear it sung with the same beauty and precision as it is here. "Life is but a waiting room and I guess I'm still waiting there for you" similarly carries a huge emotional punch that cannot be conveyed through merely reading the words here. When you hear Simon's piano again, you realise you're reaching the end of a beautiful journey and so is our hero who concludes "I'm never leaving my hometown". This song has all the classic Moon Safari elements brought together in a story line we can all relate to.
Report this review (#1066986)
Posted Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars It must have been tough for Moon Safari to restrain themselves from including Skellefteċ Serenade on their third album, Lover's End, but I definitely support this decision since it made the album more consistent while giving the band a chance of releasing their first EP!

Unlike the two previous parts of Lover's End that are featured on the 2010 studio album, this third part is a sightly different beast that sounds more at home on the band's first two albums than on their slightly more assessable releases like Lover's End or Himlabacken Vol.1. Having said that, I just don't feel that the work here has the same high quality as those older releases. The composition feels much more polished and calculated than some of their rawer longer tracks from the pre-Lover's End era.

I remember seeing Moon Safari performing this composition during their 2012 tour where they labeled it simply as Lover's End Pt. III. To be completely honest, I wasn't all that into the band and their music at that point and actually considered this 20+ minute performance to be the concert's biggest letdown. This feeling has unfortunately rubbed itself off since I still don't consider it anywhere near any of their other highlights. The composition is really slow with each section feeling very dragged out for the sake of it. Normally, this is a good thing since it gives the listener time to acquaintance oneself with the music but there are just no enough memorable/distinguishable moments to push this composition alone during it's lengthy duration.

So far I've heard this composition eight times, two of which have been in a live setting, and I'm honestly still not convinced that it's as good as everyone seems to think that it is. Yes, it definitely has some great moments; My personal favorite comes at the solo section right around the 20 minute mark. But those moments can be summarized on one hand and the total composition time is not really as good as the sum of those blissful moments.

If you a big fan of Moon Safari then you've probably already heard this track quite a few times. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the band should probably begin by exploring either [Blomljud] or Lover's End since those two albums give a much broader perspective on the band's work. If you really like what you've heard on Lover's End then this EP and/or Himlabacken Vol.1 should be your next step in uncovering the music of Moon Safari. Please note that I by no means want to be disrespectful to all the fans of Skellefteċ Serenade. If you enjoy this work then I'm really glad for you and it's unfortunate that I couldn't get the same level of enjoyment out of this composition.

*** star songs: Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteċ Serenade

Report this review (#1115010)
Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Moon Safari ultimate symphonic prog work.

This is their best studio release to date, in my opinion, despite not being studio album, but just EP. Here, in Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteċ Serenade their music evolved to a new level of musicianship and songwriting. The musical ideas are developed and connected to one another with precise musical way. The parts of the composition are varied and intriguing. The progressive pop parts are again here, but they are not static and simplified as in all the studio albums; in Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteċ Serenade they are vivid, powerful and energetic, and you would like to listen to them again and again. The sound and the structure of the composition is developed in the traditions of best symphonic prog epic examples. First and only masterpiece edge for Moon Safari to date!

Report this review (#1290351)
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm having no luck at retrieving my former Cylli Kat account. So, I'm posting a few of my old reviews, Hope this is okay with everyone. Originally posted 2012-9-15 with some edits added.

And, continuing in my clearly established vein of poorly written reviews:

This band and song might not be to everyone's taste; but I think that this is really an exceptional release. - This song just flows beautifully; there does not seem to be anything forced about it at all. The arrangement is fantastic, the playing is flawless and the lead and harmony vocals and melody lines are wonderful!

This is the PERFECT 25 minute long "pop song" with all the prog you could want!

Initially I got the original Lover's End album when I was in the wrong "head-space" for it , and kind of missed out on how good the album is. But thanks to the tip of fellow progger and reviewer dhsuhaka to check this out on progstreaming, I'm really coming to appreciate this record (and its precursor) quite a lot.

With part III, I'm sometimes reminded (just a touch) of the Dream Academy, A.C.T, Brighteye Brison, Neal Morse/Transatlantic, etc. But make no mistake; this is Moon Safari through and through and this song certainly stands on its own merit.

This is the recapitulation and expansion of the themes originated on the original album brought masterfully to their fruition and conclusion.

My advice: Since you can go to progstreaming and check it out for yourself, you have nothing to lose by giving this song a "test-drive"!!! (Not sure if this is still valid in 2018)

You just might be as pleasantly surprised as I was!!!

4.7 to maybe 5 stars - I'm going to round up for this one. (Hey, it might not be "Close to the Edge", but it certainly kept my attention and made me smile!)

Grace and peace,

Cylli Kat

Report this review (#1999161)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2018 | Review Permalink

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