Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Moon Safari

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Moon Safari A Doorway to Summer album cover
3.59 | 254 ratings | 20 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Doorway (11:36)
2. Dance Across the Ocean (7:27)
3. A Sun of Your Own (9:19)
4. We Spin the World (24:52)
5. Beyond the Door (6:40)

Total Time 59:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Petter Sandström / lead & backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
- Anthon Johansson / electric, slide & 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, backing vocals, percussion
- Simon Åkesson / lead & backing vocals, piano, Hammond, Moog, Mellotron, choir arrangements
- Johan Westerlund / bass, backing vocals
- Tobias Lundgren / drums & percussion, backing vocals

- Tomas Bodin / Moog & Mellotron & synth pads (1), co-producer, mastering & mixing
- Anders Pettersson / pedal steel guitar (3,5)
- Simon Lundin / djembe & percussion (1,3,4)

Releases information

Artwork: Petter Sandström

CD Blomljud Records ‎- BRCD001 (2005, Europe)
CD Blomljud Records ‎- BRCD001 (2012, US) Remastered by Jonas Reingold

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MOON SAFARI A Doorway to Summer Music

MOON SAFARI A Doorway to Summer ratings distribution

(254 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MOON SAFARI A Doorway to Summer reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Sweden remains a sheer endless source of new and interesting progrock bands, this time they deliver the five piece formation Moon Safari.

They open this CD with the song Doorway, a very pleasant one. It starts slowly and dreamy with acoustic guitar, mouth-organ and vocals, then gradually the sound turns more and more into lush featuring lots of instruments and soli on mouth-organ, synthesizer and electric guitar (great build-up), all supported by mellow organ waves.

Next the track Dance Across The Ocean that contains a fluent rhythm with Minimoog runs (in the vein of Starcastle and Styx) and acoustic rhythm guitar and majestic choir-Mellotron. In between wonderful pieces with classical piano and acoustic guitar, the final part sounds very beautiful with great interplay between the piano and guitar.

Then the dreamy and slow A Sun Of Your Own: it starts with beautiful acoustic guitar and classical piano, followed by a more lush and bombastic sound featuring church-organ and slide-guitar in the final part.

The 'magnum opus' on this CD is the long composition We Spin The World (24 minutes). Despite the long running time it never bores for one second: frequent changes of rhythm and climate and many strong musical ideas like R&R guitar with flute-Mellotron and a fiery guitar solo, accompanied by choir-Mellotron. And we hear many good soli on synthesizer, organ and guitar. The bombastic grand finale delivering choir-Mellotron and howling electric guitar is great, this is Moon Safari at their best!

The last song is Beyond The Door: first classical piano, then choir- Mellotron and slow and bombastic prog with slide-guitar and a wonderful final part with piano and classical guitar.

To me Moon Safari sounds as a strong and very promising progrock band. To be discovered!

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For those who love acoustic guitar outfit inserted with dynamic keyboard work, this album might suit your taste. "Doorway" starts off with nice acoustic guitar fills followed with harmonica that brings the vocal part into the song. Generally the song moves naturally on a rhythm section as the musical bed comprising a combination of sweet acoustic guitar, keyboards and punches of harmonica sounds. Electric guitar also gives its fills in some segments of this mellow track. "Dance Across The Ocean" has more energy than the opening track with more upbeat and faster tempo. The basic ingredients asre similar: acoustic guitar, keyboard plus some piano punches. The piano solo is nice and it's becoming an attraction point of this track. "Everybody wants to rock the boat .." Etc.

"A Sun Of Your Oion" has an ambient nuance with keyboard effects. The piano enters nicely followed with acoustic guitar fills. The combination of these two acoustic instruments make this track is much interesting. "The world is only a playground ." the lyrical part enters the scene. The epic "We Spin The World" (can they, really?) starts wonderfully with piano touch augmented with acoustic guitar and flute-like sounds (it might be produced from keyboard). This is a nice epic which consumes 24 minutes stream of music. This time electric guitar roles are more obvious, overlaid on top of nice chords of piano / keyboard and a bit of mellotron. Piano solo with marching styles of drumming at approx minutes 17 is cool and relaxing, followed with keyboard / synthesizer solo and electric guitar solo.

Can I say this kind of music is something like CROSBY, STILLS, NASH and YOUNG meets neo progressive music? Well, I dunno. But, for sure enjoying this album is a pleasure and relaxing my mind . It's better listening to this album while sitting on the beach. Good album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Well, first of all this is NOT that kind of SCANDINAVIAN PROG we all used to. This one is not dark and melancholic. Fortunately, I was aware of it before listening to this CD. I even knew that this is kinda "YES meets MOODY BLUES"...and I must admit, this is the best four-words description I can give!

MOON SAFARI are mellow, light, acoustic and peaceful. They sing mostly as a little choir in YES vein. Music is also very much YES-related but less complex and more radio- friendly (wish you name me the radio-station that would play the 24-min long opus! ;) ). My only complaint is that sometimes they are TOO SWEET - take away their complexity and you'll get 70s pop-rock band a la SMOKIE! As a devotee of darker side of Prog (besides this is Sweden!) I was a bit disappointed with their nature - they do not bite, they do not even bark!

Strongly recommended, especially for Light-Prog fans!!!

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Fine debut album from this interesting Swedish band. Their sound is obviously quite influenced by the pastoral side of Yes. There are lots of acoustic guitars and some excellent harmony vocals. Keyboards parts are also good, but not very outstanding. At first I thought they were a bit too cheesy and mellow for my taste, but after a few more spins I found their music to be actually better than I initially stated. Their apparent simplicity is deceiving. There are lots of subtle arrangements that needs some atention, as any good prog band´s work requires.

With a good production and tasteful arrangements A Doorway To Summer is quite promising. Specially if they outgrow their influences and show more of their own sound (acoustic Yes, Moody Blues, etc.). Highlights are the title track and A Sun Of Your Own. The 24 minut epic We Spin The World is another tune you should listen carefully to fully appreciate its many shifting moods and swings, well crafted instrumental parts and faultless vocals.

A nice surprise.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars If you ever needed a more tranquil "Yes" experience, softer approach of prog, less intricate than his glorious predecessor, this debut from "Moon Safari" might well be designed for your taste.

I can't really say that it is my cup of tea. Just average music, whose origin is too obvious and much, much more interesting of course. Now, to be honest, I can't really say that the opener "Doorway" is a poor song. It conveys fine and melodic elements and great guitar sounds (thanks Steve). But such weak vocals. They remind me of the poorest "Starcastle" stuff.even if they are trying hard to sound as . (just fill in the blanks).

There is actually nothing wrong here, just that if you're looking for original music, this is not the best entry to start with. Same nice acoustic guitar, keyboards ā la who you know, and generally weak vocals. The whole combination doesn't look great, does it?

IMHHO, there are many other great Swedish bands to consider. I guess that in terms of "Yes" emulation, you know which one I am talking about.(unfortunately, there won't be great guitar breaks here...).

This album would be a jewel for someone who would land on a desert island in 1968. Of course, that person would need to be somewhat open minded to accept these new sounds. He would have felt in love with these fine vocal harmonies, sweet keyboards line, etc. But when our hero would have been released in 2006, he was told that this album was recorded in 2005 and he couldn't believe his ears.

Just because all of a sudden he had a flash. A band called "Yes" produced such a better music ages ago. And he went up into his room and found "The Yes Album", "Fragile", "Close To The Edge", "Relayer" etc.

From then on, he was never fooled again.

Even if the epic "We Spin The World" has its own good. Of which an excellent instrumental intro. The problem being the vocals. As soon as they enter the scene, the charm is almost over. Flat. Dull. Passionless. Far from the original, aren't we? And to endure this for about twenty-five minutes is quite a difficult exercise.

I rate this album with two stars, maybe because I was the man on the island.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There are times when I really wonder whether I will ever understand progressive rock, even after 35 years of devotion and self-inflicted Gabrielesque belief that "I know what I Like"! Idiot Me! ; It still manages to knock me for an unexpected loop. I purchased Moon Safari with clenched eyes, on the strength of learning the Tomas Bodin association in producing this debut, so I figured, ha! I can't go wrong with that! I have listened to it once, absentmindedly labeling and shelving it as Prog-Lite , a bit like that Alter Echo album I bought way back when (strangely also from Sweden!). Well, a few years have gone by and I finally fished out this yellow-jacketed sucker from my sizeable collection and gave it a second whirl. As the band members openly suggest, this is summer music, breezy wind-in-your- hair sonic ear candy and loaded with "pada-dapa-dapada" vocal harmonies that would make the Beach Boys drool with envy. Truth is that having first rate vocals is a sad Prog rarity, especially when we still anoint Greg Lake with top vocalist honors in 2009! I mean really, where are all the great lungs? Both Simon Akesson and Petter Sandström have luscious almost angelic voices, crystal pure and limpid which works very well with the liberal use of Mellotron , especially the choir samples. "Doorway" starts off with nary a prog whiff, sounding more like a polished pop band from the US West Coast, doing the surfer soundtrack to California Dreamin'! Last prog tune featuring harmonica? Anybody ? Well this is probably what threw me off, as this is a seriously unexpected affair, as Sandström blows a mean mouth organ. Not my cup of aqvavit , I must say. Anekdoten, Landberk er.. Anglagard? Not exactly! "Dance Across the Ocean" is actually the first hint of a strong Beatles influence that will show up regularly from now on (especially vocally and the occasional rhythm guitar riff, oddly), with fine piano and fluttering synth playing, some of those previously mentioned "papa" flights and some dashes of fabled Mellotron. This is pretty cool stuff though as the Yes/Starcastle/Styx influences kick in. "A Sun of Your Own" possesses an incredibly memorable vocal theme, huge sweeping harmonies, swirling counterpoints that boldly go beyond anything Yes or any other vocally gifted Prog bands have ever recorded. Graceful structure and elegant piano are the instrumental hallmarks. By the time we get to the Gates of Progland, a.k.a the epic 24 minute showpiece, "We Spin the World", the mood has shifted into outright recognizable definitions with the inevitable Yessisms (trebly bass ā la Squire, zooming Howe-ish guitar rampages, honky organ and symphonic keyboard bombast) but with an obvious personal touch highlighted by the intricate vocal work that recall the Beatles, Starcastle, Queen and even CSNY . Akesson provides a whistling synth solo that scours the horizon while fleet guitarist Anthon Johansson surprises with both acoustic and electric interventions. Drummer Tobias Lundgren keeps the beat alive with some fabulously tight rhythms. The finale is pure grandiose fanfare with that "feel good" Prog epic buzz we all are so eternally grateful for and which we ultimately crave. An excellent piece of music that frankly alters one's feelings towards the positive. That first track is really the great deceiver. "Beyond the Door" begins as a startlingly melancholic piano etude, full of romanticism and carefree simplicity that opens into a harrowing vocal/choir fest that features more majestic Tron work, slide guitar recalling "you know who" and some synth bubblings to close off the deal on a cheery positive note. Hey, Scandinavian prog does not have to be always about doom, gloom, Odin's table, Valhalla winds and Viking raids! I will skip the first track because the rest is way more interesting. ZowieZiggy may reconsider his rating (just like I changed my opinion, pegging it initially with 3 stars) if he finds the right island. 4 lunar treks
Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm very sorry to rate group I love a lot so, so low, but I can't help myself. First I have to confess. I've listened Blomljud earlier. And not only once. About hundred times for last half of a year ? Or three months ? Their new release is very addictive and I was judging this as "after Blomljud" reviewer. I'm listening Doorway right now, as always when writing review, but it's not so good as B. I see similar music style, but I lack these fancy catchy rhytms and magical music at all. Don't take me bad, it's magical, but without stronger theme. Something like theme from 7:50-10:30 in Other Half of the Sky, or more pop Bluebells. Or Methuselah's Children. Still, it's nice album, but for me it's not so interesting as others. Sorry Sweden, I owe you something, so I'm going to write review for Blomljud right now.

EDIT: 4(+), slightly worse than Blomljud, but with clear mind (after months passed). I need to get myself to write completely new review, because from this point of view (half a year later), this is (sorry for that word), bull_hit. But my feelings are for better four star rating, there are promising things, which are later fulfilled in their next release. I heard them, almost can touch them, but when they're almost on reach, this glimpse escapes and leaves you wondering, why they didn't finished the job. They could do better and they did, in Blom.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "A Doorway To Summer" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock act Moon Safari. The album was released through the independent record label Blomljud Records Inc. in 2005 (the band´s own label). Moon Safari was founded in Skellefteå, Sweden in 2003, and was initially championed by Tomas Bodin of The Flower Kings, after he listened to their demo.

Moon Safari´s sound on "A Doorway To Summer" is unmistakably the sound of Swedish progressive rock in the positive and "light" end of the spectrum. It´s artists like The Flower Kings, Ritual, and especially Kaipa that Moon Safari reminds me of.

The music on "A Doorway To Summer" features Lots of organic sounding instruments like acoustic guitars, Hammond Organ, Piano (and various other vintage keyboards and synths, like moog and mellotron), and Harmonica (which gives the music a folky touch). The vocals are a special treat with loads of harmony vocals and choir arrangements, and the vocal style is generally pleasant and soothing to the ears. The music is overall very melodic and quite accessible with a gentle mellow atmosphere. It´s not overtly complex music, but it´s complex enough to not to be mistaken for easy listening muzak, although the pleasant dreamy nature of it, sometimes conjures up a feeling of just that. The spirit is uplifting and light and I personally miss a few more dark and emotionally intense moments but I guess that´s an aquired taste. If you want something that just flows nicely and sounds pleasant this is perfect.

"A Doorway To Summer" feautures 5 tracks. All of them pretty long. The shortest track is "Dance across the Ocean" with it´s 7:30 minutes long playing time while "We spin the world" with it´s 24:52 minutes long playing time takes the prize as the longest track on the album.

The sound production is pleasant, warm, and organic. Perfect for the music. Upon conclusion "A Doorway To Summer" is a very well crafted debut album by Moon Safari. Fans of the above mentioned artists are adviced to take a listen here as this album is as profesional and pleasant sounding as most of the output by those bands. As I said above I do miss a bit of bite in the music (which is also an issue with some of Kaipa´s output) and "A Doorway To Summer" can be almost too sweet and innocent for it´s own good. But if you enjoy mellow and uplifting progressive rock this is the album for you. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars MOON SAFARI are a new talented band coming from Skelleftea,a small city in the north of Sweden.Starting in 2003,the band recorded a 4-track demo,which was sent to Tomas Bodin and was enough for them to gain a contract with Blomljud Records and release their first full-legth album ''Doorway to summer'' in 2005.

MOON SAFARI are perhaps the closest band to THE FLOWER KINGS I've heard so in the opener ''Doorway'',which is a mellow prog track with a guitarist ripping off ROINE STOLT both in his acoustic and electric style and a fair amount of harmonica and TOMAS BODIN-like moog solos.''Dance across the ocean'' is more of an art/pop/prog track like a cross between THE FLOWER KINGS,BEARDFISH and IZZ,with sweet multi-vocal harmonies,heavy acoustic doses and nice moog synths all over.''A sun of your own'' is a track I can't remember of a while after its listening.An overlong boring ballad with a very relaxed sound of little interest.Heading for the grand opus of the album,the 24-min. long ''We spin the world'',the YES influence becomes clearer.In the first seven or so minutes you think if STEVE HOWE handles the guitar,delivering some rocking material and complex breaks with TOMAS BODIN being the man behind the keys.Later the track obtains a slight GENESIS-feeling with melodic guitars and some pastoral flutes in the way,before turning into a THE BEATLES vocal-led musicianship and finishing with a decent mellotron-choir and a sensitive melody.Not a masterpiece,but definitely a very decent and well-executed arrangement.MOON SAFARI choose to close the album with ''Beyond the door'',which starts with classical-inspired piano and moves on to more of the same...a YES-like structure with excellent vocal harmonies and magnificent work on Hammond organ and moog,even some tubular bells pop up in here.

''Doorway to summer'' is actually a really strong and challenging debut.The question is:are you hungry for more YES/THE FLOWER KINGS tunes?...If yes,you should hurry and grab it now!If not,then you will propably get a bit tired by this one...The answer is yours...

Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars I just can't bring myself to give MOON SAFARI's debut 3 stars. People know I prefer dark and heavy music, but I can certainly enjoy music that's on the lighter side as well. I just can't get past the higher pitched vocals combined with that light and poppy sound. The harmonies with lots of acoustic guitar and piano are just too much for me. Too much sugar !

"Doorway" opens with acoustic guitar, piano then harmonica as vocals join in. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes. We get some sampled mellotron with piano and the birds are singing. Everybody is happy. "Dance Across The Ocean" features mellotron before acoustic guitar and piano join in. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. Mellotron 6 1/2 minutes in followed by vocal melodies then organ.

"A Sun Of Your Own" starts out well with piano and organ, it's quite pastoral. Acoustic guitar and vocals eventually join in and it goes downhill from there. "We Spin The World" has some good organ after a minute. A calm with vocals after 4 minutes. It's heavier a minute later. Not a fan though. "Beyond The Door" opens with piano. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes with harmonies. Too poppy.

A light and pleasant album that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars With their second album, Blomljud, Moon Safari released arguably a prog classic, and one of my favorite modern prog albums. So of course, I had to go back in time three years to their debut, A Doorway to Summer.

Like Blomljud, the music is almost entirely unimpressive on the first listen. I mean, there's catchy beats, melodies and hooks like you wouldn't believe, but somehow the first time through you don't notice the depth. But there is depth to this music, depth that reveals itself after multiple listens.

The album opens pleasantly with Doorway, but it really picks up with Dance Across the Ocean. This is prog music that you could dance to! Which is not something you are going to hear very often. From the catchy chorus to the ba-da-bas that open the song, Dance is a stellar piece of energetic, uplifting music. Uplifting is definitely one of the best words to describe what Moon Safari pull off with their music.

A Sun Of Your Own is a grower; initially, it doesn't seem like much, but if you listen to it enough times, it just gets better and better. Songs like these suffer on albums that consist only of growers, but with every other song on this album grabbing the ear with irresistible hooks, you will hear this track many times to give it a chance to grow, while still enjoying the album. In a way, I've actually come to like this track even more than "Dance Across the Ocean".

Then comes the obligatory 25 minute track. A lot of modern bands seem to feel obligated to record long pieces, and so you'll often find a 20 minute track that doesn't quite hit the mark. Moon Safari are an exception. We Spin The World is one of the better modern prog epics I have heard so far; I would go so far as to say that it is even better than "Other Half of the Sky" off of Blomljud. Perhaps it is a little less "sweet" sounding, perhaps it rocks a little harder - I dont know. It is definitely my favorite track off of this album, and continues the track-by-track increase in quality. Some of the vocals even remind me of Roland Orzabol off of Tears for Fears.

Much like Blomljud, Moon Safari ends their album with a quieter track to follow the epic; in this album, it's Beyond the Door, which reprises themes from Doorway in a new way. It's almost like Moon Safari is saying, "You've seen what we can do ... now catch your breath."

So what makes Moon Safari different from the wealth of other symphonic rock bands out there? I would say that there are several things that give them their unique charm and make their music so irresistible to me. The first is that they are unabashedly catchy and fun. The second is the sunny, uplifting feeling that is present in their music. And finally, the stunning vocals that are among the best vocals I've heard in the current prog scene. (In this album, the vocals are not used quite as effectively as on Blomljud, but they are still top notch).

Currently, Moon Safari is recording their third album - posting pictures on their facebook of the snow in Sweden and saying, "This is why we make music that sounds like summer." And I am glad, because their back catalogue is far smaller than I want it to be, and music like this makes me want more of their music.

I highly recommend this album, especially to those who love upbeat music.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've had mixed feelings towards Moon Safari ever since hearing their music for the first time back in 2010. It's not that I don't enjoy their soft and very melodic approach to prog, but some of their material can seem to be dragged out of proportions. Take for example their debut album which features tracks that are anywhere between 6 and 25 minutes long. It took me quite some time to appreciate their work, especially some of their lengthier tracks, but now I can safely say that this band has won me over!

The debut album from Moon Safari gives us the first glimpse of the things that are yet to come. The quintet have yet not fully realized their style and thus borrow heavily from Yes. The melodies aren't yet all that memorable and the transitions between different sections within the compositions is not as smooth as I would have liked it to be, but this only means that there is room for future improvement.

The most memorable track here is Dance Across The Ocean, which might be the reason why the band still occasionally plays it live. Having said that, they also sometimes play Doorway and I never really cared much for that track. To me it almost sounds like being in a 12 minute daze that begins and then ends without actually giving me much enjoyment. A Sun Of Your Own is pretty track with one of the album's strongest choruses that might have worked even better if the composition was shortened to the 5 minute mark. We Spin The World makes up almost half of this album and, to me, this composition is not as strong as Other Half Of The Sky but the band almost makes it work thanks to their great enthusiasm throughout the track. Beyond The Door concludes the album on another soft note and but this time with a pretty lackluster melody.

Overall, this is a pretty good effort from Moon Safari which shows that the band have not yet settled into their own style but that doesn't mean that this will be a waste of an experience. Personally I would recommend starting out your collection with [Blomljud] or Lover's End and then, depending on which one you liked the most, working your way to A Doorway To Summer or Himlabacken, respectively.

**** star songs: Dance Across The Ocean (7:30) A Sun Of Your Own (9:19) We Spin The World (24:52)

*** star songs: Doorway (11:36) Beyond The Door (6:40)

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Every since progressive rock gestated into its own distinct genre in the 1960s very few attributes have maintained it as a unified genre with a few exceptions like time signature complexities, extended playing times and oft convoluted thematic developments but it seems that another attribute would be that prog tends to dwell in darker places and is the antithesis to the chipper happy vibes of the much simpler pop world. Despite prog tending to lurk in the shadows though there is no hard and fast rule that it be the case so it often comes as a surprise when a band chooses to take the characteristics of prog and fuse them into the prog equivalent of sunshine pop and perhaps no band has done it quite so successfully as Sweden's MOON SAFARI.

This band that formed in Skelleteå in 2003 caught the prog world's attention with its debut A DOORWAY TO SUMMER which doubled down on the symphonic prog sounds of classic Genesis, Yes, Camel along with more eclectic values from Gentle Giant as well as some of the crossover features of bands like Styx and Saga. Founded by keyboardist and singer Simon Åkesson, guitarist / singer Petter Sandström, bassist Johan Westerlund, guitarist Anthon Johansson and drummer Tobias Lundgren, the band was lucky enough to catch the attention of keyboardist Tomas Bodin of The Flower Kings who would end up producing this debut album which saw the dawn of what i often deem the sunshine prog movement of the 21st century, a style of warm, uplifting and even sappy prog that would inspire bands like Big Big Train and other pop infused crossover prog bands that love to bathe in mellotron symphonies.

Although MOON SAFARI's music offered diverse styles on A DOORWAY TO SUMMER there are a few underlying characteristics. Firstly the extensive use of lush acoustic guitars, keyboard and mellotron rich soundscapes that offer silky smooth backdrops for the compositional structures that alternate in happy major chords with just a touch of minor additions for contrast's sake but mostly what makes MOON SAFARI stand out are the intricate five part vocal harmonizations that fit somewhere between the pure pop of The Beatles and the more eclectic avant-garde workouts of Gentle Giant. It goes without saying that the emphasis of MOON SAFARI's approach is to craft instantly infectious melodies that excel in crafting a nice magazine cover beach house listening experience that would provide the perfect soundtrack for the more adventurous Airbnb crowds.

Somehow eschewing from falling into the world of neo-prog, MOON SAFARI sounds as much contemporary folk as it does symphonic prog with slow dreamy acoustic guitar strum sessions punctuated by crafty synthesized cloud covers and soaring emotive electric guitar works that evoke the likes of IQ, Arena and other neo-prog artists but never quite fall into that camp. A touch of harmonica adds an oft missing aspect in prog and that's a more intimate feel that evokes some of the characteristics of busking blues artists on the side of subway station entryways. This is music that is designed to push all the happy triggers with sing-along lyrics in extremely complex harmonic arrangements. For those who are adverse to the epitome of vocal sappiness, this will make you scurry into the dark like a cockroach once the lights come on. For those who can handle the musical equivalent of prozac, this stuff is for you!

While i usually prefer my happy music in the world of pop with 60s bands like The Turtles, The Beach Boys or even The Mamas & The Papas, i have to admit that when a band pulls off an album of this sort that works on every level i simply can't dismiss it because it's too cheerful. The songs may have irresistible endorphin emitting melodies that take you to some Kumbaya happiness camp but it's hard to not be impressed by the beautiful composiitons steeped in heavy prog workouts and those extraordinarily precise and emotive vocal harmonies that raise the whole thing to an entirely different level of musical aptitude. What sounds like a recipe for disaster in writing actually is pulled off quite well as the variations of piano rolls, dramatic organ runs and alterations between lush pastoral sequences and more heavy rock outbursts provide an hour's worth of thoroughly entertaining prog workouts. While the band is most famous for the following "[blomljud]," this debut A DOORWAY TO SUMMER does indeed provide the most gleeful musical expressions of escaping the long Swedish winters and entering a happy world in full bloom where even the wildlife is dancing like they were in "The Sound of Music."

Review by DangHeck
3 stars Having recognized the album cover to their 2008 sophomore follow-up to this one, Blomljud (currently the 44th highest rated on the site for Symphonic Prog), since what feels like forever, I was looking forward to digging in. And to know that they're from Sweden, my interest can only grow (it's impossible to make "Swedish supremacy" sound unproblematic haha). Featuring once-Flower King Tomas Bodin on keys and synths and co-production, yet another tick for my personal interest in Moon Safari.

Highly melodic and sweet throughout, "Doorway" opens up the album. Nice vocals (reminiscent to British contemporaries Haken's Ross Jennings), and a lovely mix. A beautiful track that even at its softest has a lot to offer musically. It is on this track, around minute 4, that Bodin's feature first(?) resides, providing a beautiful Moog solo (is he also responsible for the melodica here as well?). Very tasteful. What I assume to also be his solo is at the end: phenomenal. Throughout is also some great organ. Another solo, this time guitar, is sweet and light and melodic. Indeed will appeal to fans of "New Prog", in bands like The Flower Kings, Big Big Train or Echolyn. It is the wonderful vocals toward the end that are a great highlight to this track. Classic and complex. This is all right up my alley.

"Dance Across the Ocean" opens with synth lead very comparable to the Styx classic "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)" [Or is it "Sing For The Day"?]! Sprawling and big. Once again, I must mention the mix: I love the wall-to-wall production style. And just like Styx, vocals are high priority for Moon Safari. It is evident, and I'm very for it. An epic-sounding, very classic Prog feel. Again, all for it.

Soft and sweet, "A Sun of Your Own" begins. Again, their sonic choices are so satisfactory for me: a classic symphonic Prog fan and a maximalist through and through, sometimes it's hard to feel truly pleased. This song is perhaps a little poppy? Hard to place, though I've been a more recent fan of Power Pop darlings Jellyfish (don't sleep on them, if you're fans of XTC, Queen, The Beatles, etc.) and specifically, I hear similarities here to Jason Falkner. Overall, somewhat static compared to what came before. Still a solid track in its own right.

Then the 25-minute epic, "We Spin the World": and indeed, even in its first 3 minutes, epic indeed! So many emotions and feelings here, and, by then, not even a word had been spoken. I'm just very impressed with this band. Compositional excellence aplenty. On this note, it's impressive that they kept this epic upbeat for the wide majority of it, not needing to 'space out' to cause/will interest to occur. Starting around minute 5 is a not-so-favorite part, but then it... does get better! I can't even place what it is I didn't like, especially as the piece moved and it got more comfortable: specifically around the triumph of minute 8, which is also interesting enough, to say the least [Sorry this is one of those moments where my writing style may cause some pause in reading]. One of the most impressive moments is around 13:40, with Beach Boys-esque a capella loveliness. Again, the vocals are some of the best elements of Moon Safari, and that's saying a lot: they're good all 'round. And finally, nothing to say about "Beyond the Door" but 'purty'.

Clearly a concept of sorts, in the least, through to the end, just a very sweet and optimistic album. Very whole, it is a more than solid debut.

True Rate: 3.5/5.0

Latest members reviews

3 stars Admittedly, my first hearing of Moon Safari was with their great album Blomljud, therefore my chronology is a tad messed up. But I would say that is a very strong debut album. The Moon Safari sound is still evident on this, being a mix of Yes, Genesis, and the Flower Kings, with their own unique, sp ... (read more)

Report this review (#784315) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Saturday, July 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Here were are introduced to a new band called Moon Safari. At five songs, you'd think their first effort would be an EP, but you'd be wrong, for the songs are fairly lengthy. All in all a very solid a decent collection of songwriting with exceptions of two songs: A Sun of Your Own is probably the ... (read more)

Report this review (#340749) | Posted by oddworld | Thursday, December 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In Moonsafari, Sweden has produced yet anotherfine young prog band, and their debut album 'A Doorway To Summer' holds great promise for the future. Comparisons with the Flower Kings are inevitable, but this music seems simpler, brighter, more optimistic in tone. There is none of the jazzy feel ... (read more)

Report this review (#113823) | Posted by Lazarus | Wednesday, February 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another masterpiece from Sweden...a melting pot of Yes, Genesis, Flower Kings...a collection of 5 beautiful tracks including very moving ones. A band who deserves the success of their potential...firmly waiting for their next album... ... (read more)

Report this review (#67431) | Posted by | Monday, January 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Prog-Lite is the best description that comes to mind for this album. And the closest comparison I could make would be Sebastian Hardie circa 1976. More precisely the Windchase album. Even the art work is similar. This recording has alot of the 70's spirit. The mighty melotron. Moogs. Organ. I ... (read more)

Report this review (#65776) | Posted by zx2781 | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars These young guys have what it takes to make a name for themselves in the genre. A Doorway To Summer has a very warm and abit own sound with nice molodies and great vocal harmonies. The album starts softly with just some warm acustic guitars and lovely vocals, then it turns bigger and bigger ... (read more)

Report this review (#58491) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MOON SAFARI "A Doorway to Summer"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.