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[BLOMLJUD]

Moon Safari

Symphonic Prog


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Moon Safari [Blomljud] album cover
4.15 | 386 ratings | 43 reviews | 46% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1: Ka-on I
1. Constant Bloom (1:26)
2. Methuselah's Children (15:42)
3. In The Countryside (5:42)
4. Moonwalk (8:48)
5. Bluebells (10:11)
6. The Ghost Of Flowers Past (9:47)

Total Time 51:36

CD2: Ka-on II
1. Yasgur's Farm (8:05)
2. Lady Of The Woodlands (3:36)
3. A Tale Of Three And Tree (3:28)
4. Other Half Of The Sky (31:42)
5. To Sail Beyond The Sunset (5:18)

Total Time: 50:09

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Simon Åkesson / lead and backing vocals, keyboards, sfx, choir arrangements
- Petter Sandström / lead and backing vocals, 12 string and electric guitar, sfx
- Pontus Åkesson / lead and backing vocals, guitars, mandolin
- Johan Westerlund / lead and backing vocals, bass
- Tobias Lundgren / drums, percussion, backing vocals

Releases information

Blomljud Records

Thanks to bhikkhu for the addition
and to Snow Dog for the last updates
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Live In MexicoLive In Mexico
BLOMLJUD 2014
Audio CD$11.97
$18.84 (used)
Lover's EndLover's End
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$8.75
$15.76 (used)
Lover's End Pt. Iii: Skelleftea SerenadeLover's End Pt. Iii: Skelleftea Serenade
PROGROCK RECORDS 2013
Audio CD$4.99
Himlabacken Vol. 1Himlabacken Vol. 1
BLOMLJUD 2013
Audio CD$10.11
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BlomljudBlomljud
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$11.70
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The Gettysburg AddressThe Gettysburg Address
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$12.38
$19.07 (used)
A Doorway To SummerA Doorway To Summer
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$8.75
$11.11 (used)
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS: LIVE AT ROSFEST(2CD)THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS: LIVE AT ROSFEST(2CD)
MARQUEE
Audio CD$45.07
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Himlabacken Vol.1 +1Himlabacken Vol.1 +1
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Live In Mexico (2CD)Live In Mexico (2CD)
AVALON
Audio CD$33.00
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MOON SAFARI [Blomljud] ratings distribution


4.15
(386 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(46%)
46%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
30%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

MOON SAFARI [Blomljud] reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 25, 2008

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 14, 2008

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, December 05, 2010

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review by 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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Posted Saturday, December 01, 2012

Review by 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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Posted Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 06, 2013

Review by 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) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1066163) | Posted by Nrwhmr | Friday, October 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#889573) | Posted by waghler | Monday, January 07, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#819055) | Posted by dhsuhaka | Wednesday, September 12, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 th ... (read more)

Report this review (#781671) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Wednesday, July 04, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 C ... (read more)

Report this review (#776847) | Posted by groon | Sunday, June 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 r ... (read more)

Report this review (#563184) | Posted by Huseberry | Saturday, November 05, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 lis ... (read more)

Report this review (#534177) | Posted by desistindo | Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 nece ... (read more)

Report this review (#506960) | Posted by Richens | Sunday, August 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 masterp ... (read more)

Report this review (#407626) | Posted by Slaughternalia | Thursday, February 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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--bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#377660) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#356198) | Posted by rpe9p | Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#349948) | Posted by let prog reign | Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 affi ... (read more)

Report this review (#342389) | Posted by Proghamer | Saturday, December 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 every ... (read more)

Report this review (#340771) | Posted by oddworld | Thursday, December 02, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#254955) | Posted by EMLonergan | Tuesday, December 08, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#252123) | Posted by Anteater | Sunday, November 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#216602) | Posted by VoiceintheFan | Tuesday, May 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#206709) | Posted by prog61 | Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#199933) | Posted by proggesser | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#199221) | Posted by Malex | Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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