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Moongarden - Moonsadness CD (album) cover

MOONSADNESS

Moongarden

Symphonic Prog


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Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A GENESIS-fans Must-Have as I been told. Poorly recorded and produced, it has some highlights like "Seagulls" ballad and some moments in epic and opening track (while "I miss you more" - usual hard-rock track for radio, I guess). Lush Mellotrons, organs, Hackettesque guitars etc...you know it all as good as me ;-) . Not bad at all, but it lacks something . Maybe, the main flaw is vocalist's voice - hardly bearable! Anyway, recommended for die-hard GENESIS/MARILLION/etc fans and Neo Prog collectors
Report this review (#106449)
Posted Sunday, January 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars This debut is actually the zenith for Moongarden, and the only album where they could actually be considered symphonic or compared to their original inspiration, Camel. I cannot give it a higher rating because it is barely longer than an EP, and the lengthiest track is not very cohesive.

The two highlights are both top-notch, the energetic and optimistic "Breaking Mirrors", and the sublime ballad "Seagulls". The latter in particular is a genre buster for its gentle teary vocal almost spoken at times, with spare but lovely instrumental backing, and its lengthy minimalist guitar solo which follows the main vocal section. This track hinted at the hitherto unfulfilled potential of Moongarden.

Subsequent albums, unfortunately, steered toward the spaced out and/or plodding approach of bands on the fringes of prog, those who understand the technique but prefer to check their real emotions at the door of the studio. So Moongarden now exists more in the realm of the Porcupine Trees, Radioheads, and RPWLs of this world, with a few laudatory nods to David Sylvian, but not much else of note. Pity. If you are going to explore Moongarden, do start here.

Report this review (#125598)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This band was originally catalogued in the neo-prog genre to where it fully belongs (the bio still mentions this filiation).

Lyrics are in English and the music is at times reminiscent of the seventies ("Genesis").

The opening number starts promisingly but as soon as their lead vocalist, enters the scene one is plunged into the deepest depression. What the heck is this ? Awful, really! The best way to ruin this fully neo-prog (but good) song. For a few seconds, the fabulous riff of "Heart Of Sunrise" can be distinguished.

If you ever fancy some AOR-ish sounds (which is NOT my case), have a listen to "I Miss You More". It is a particularly difficult exercise. But fortunately it is the shortest song of this album. You can easily press next to escape from these terrible vocals.

It is true to say that "Moongarden" adds some nice symphonic moments to their neo-prog offering like the wonderful guitar solo during Seagulls which is by far the most emotional song from this debut album. The highlight here. But the one and only.

Lots of hope before listening to the epic song of "Moonsadness". But the long "The Girl & The Moonman" is noisy for about twelve minutes. Fully Crimson-oriented. The only bearable moments are the pleasant and melodic part after a blank of a few seconds. But the vocals still remain a problem. Not fitting the style of music played here. More appropriate to a Broadway musical than on a prog release.

Two stars for this non Italian symph album.

Report this review (#158364)
Posted Friday, January 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It's interesting to hear where it all started for Italy's own MOONGARDEN. "Moonsadness" their debut is quite different from "The Gates Of Omega" their double album, and far from the sounds of the amazing "Round Midnight" record. I enjoy parts of this album quite a bit, enough to give it 3 stars if it weren't for the vocals. The guest English vocals are the worst I have ever heard, it's hard not to smile when thinking of them. Anyway they ruin this album for me.

"Breaking Mirrors" is a song that changes gears a lot. Instrumentally it's very well done. I like the heaviness before 2 minutes and the emotional guitar late. The vocals would break mirrors. "I Miss You More" has a good heavy sound to it until it settles with vocals. Yikes ! I like the guitar after 3 1/2 minutes to end it.

"Seagulls" is a good song. More emotional guitar here. "The Girl And The Moonman" is the over 17 minute track to end it. It kicks in before 2 minutes followed by vocals as it settles. I like the organ 6 1/2 minutes in. Flute after 9 1/2 minutes. It's heavier with mellotron after 11 minutes. Guitar follows. It's laid back the rest of the way.

This album as others have mentioned is in the Symphonic vein unlike the next two which I would call Neo-Prog. Again the vocals do a lot of damage to the sound here.

Report this review (#268577)
Posted Friday, February 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Conspicuous are the weaknesses of 'Moonsadness',. Several previous reviews note the vocal affectations of the singer which are often truly comical. His entry into a track is usually reminiscent of a friendly cow mooing for its morning corn and his delivery of the words is so tortuous as to make them incomprehensible. Given, however, that the album was initially only a demo recording some of its other faults (the rather rather flat production values for example) are, perhaps, more understandable although the off ?key flute playing near the beginning of the opening track is something unforgivable under any circumstances. The music is clearly that of a band still searching to establish its 'Progressive' credentials. Some passages, especially in the final track, offer a rather laboured attempt at Crimsonesque complexity. And the 'neo-progressive' endeavour of the album to marry a Progressive Rock aesthetic with aspects of 1980's 'pop' (always a tricky ambition given that one was surely the antithesis of the other) is ultimately a failure. Nevertheless, despite these faults, as a 'demo' the album does fulfil its purpose by 'demonstrating' the band's ambitions, abilities and potential. The musicianship, without ever becoming spectacular, is certainly competent and capable of occasional beauty. Especially notable is the combination, of some lyrical guitar solo work against a luscious harmonic keyboard cushion ? particularly at the end of the opening track and throughout 'Seagulls' ? which achieves a melancholic beauty resonant with the album's title. After listening to this album a few times I have, therefore, become confident that later albums by Moongarden (I am, at the time of writing this review, unfamiliar with any) are able to achieve a much greater polish and will rectify the problems that are so evident here. Even the singer has a considerable vocal range and a warm tone which is only spoilt by his excessive and injudicious theatricality. Moongarden , then, offers a decent but flawed listening experience probably worthy of some 'alternative' downloading but certainly not a purchase.
Report this review (#603484)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012 | Review Permalink

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