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MOON SAFARI

Symphonic Prog • Sweden


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Moon Safari biography
MOON SAFARI started as a figment of our imagination in the late twentieth century. Realized in 2003, we are now casting our first progressive pie of epic proportions, "A Doorway To Summer", into the face of the enlightened world.

Fifteen minutes of rehearsal on a dark February night was all it took to make us feel warm and summery inside. So the following month we entered the local recording facilities in Skelleftea, a small stretch of shoreline in the north of Sweden, and begun scribbling down the blueprint for what would later become a doorway to summer.

The four-track demo recorded that spring was send to Mr Tomas Bodin of the FLOWER KINGS. Our star-struck attitude must have been the convincing factor as he happily agreed to make the long journey north to mix and master the demo in the summer of 2003. The outcome of the collaboration, resulting in great versions of "Doorway" and the booming "Lovely rain", pleased both parties and it was decided then and there that we would record an album, with Tomas himself playing the role of producer.

The band immediately began to gain followers in 2005 with the debut album "A Doorway To Summer." Their ambitions grew with the follow up double album, which included their first epic. As the music evolves MOON SAFARI changes but always maintains their vocal harmony laden, melodic approach to modern Symphonic Prog.

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A Doorway To SummerA Doorway To Summer
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$8.87
$11.11 (used)
BlomljudBlomljud
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$11.70
$18.21 (used)
Himlabacken Vol. 1Himlabacken Vol. 1
BLOMLJUD 2013
Audio CD$10.35
$17.53 (used)
Lover's EndLover's End
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$8.87
$15.75 (used)
Live In MexicoLive In Mexico
BLOMLJUD 2014
Audio CD$17.99
The Gettysburg AddressThe Gettysburg Address
PROGROCK RECORDS 2012
Audio CD$12.38
$19.07 (used)
Lover's End Pt. Iii: Skelleftea SerenadeLover's End Pt. Iii: Skelleftea Serenade
PROGROCK RECORDS 2013
Audio CD$3.82
$9.66 (used)
THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS: LIVE AT ROSFEST(2CD)THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS: LIVE AT ROSFEST(2CD)
MARQUEE
Audio CD$45.01
$47.39 (used)
Himlabacken Vol.1 +1Himlabacken Vol.1 +1
Import
Loen Entertainment Kr
Audio CD$18.98
LoverLover
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$30.34
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MOON SAFARI shows & tickets


  • Moon Safari at Bryggarsalen, Stockholm on 18 Oct 2014
  • Moon Safari at Tsutaya O-West, Tokyo on 22 Oct 2014
  • Moon Safari + Lazuli at Borderline, London on 29 Nov 2014

MOON SAFARI discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MOON SAFARI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 175 ratings
A Doorway To Summer
2005
4.15 | 380 ratings
[Blomljud]
2008
3.91 | 347 ratings
Lover's End
2010
3.92 | 260 ratings
Himlabacken Vol.1
2013

MOON SAFARI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.73 | 84 ratings
The Gettysburg Address
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Mexico
2014

MOON SAFARI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MOON SAFARI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MOON SAFARI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.71 | 97 ratings
Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteĺ Serenade
2012

MOON SAFARI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by joaolavelino

4 stars I decided doing this review almost a year after listening for the first time and the first impression of the album didn't quite change. The main factor is the mood of the album. There is sugar? Yes. A lot. But a quite uplifting album is just what i wanted to listen at the time (after the dark Steven Wilson's great album), and by almost a year this is what I feel to listen almost everyday. The album's joyfulness and the playful mood is a combination that could sound a bit childlike, but the richness of the sound and details makes is just tasteful do listen casually tham to listen carefully. The lightness of mood makes it good to fit in different ocasions.

This being the first Moon Safari album that I listened, I was really impressed by the richness of the compositions and the way the album brought to me a lot of different elements that I wanted to listen but not the way I was listening in the last albums I was in touch. The anthemic guitar introduction to Too Much Young To Say Good Bye. A lot of different vocal-focused moments in Kids, Mega Moon Queen'ish sections for instance. And a lot of uplifting mood atmosphere during it all.

The song that can take in a deeper analisys is Sugar Band. As it moves from a soft piano- led melody to a faster paced proggy sound, the song plays with strong vocal interludes and some welcomed breakdowns (like the tasteful guitar solo). The rythmic/melodic drastic change in the middle gives the song the freshness a 9 minute song needs to be enjoying. It's catchy in all the different moments.The final section as strong with the alternance of the gentle solo, the anthemic final vocal section, the string-led section and the delicate final piano part makes a strong album ending.

The rating is based on the concept each number of stars stands for. This is an Excellent adition to any prog ROCK music collection. (if you are about prog metal, for instance, this album can be good as well, but far from essential for your collection).

Personally, It's an 4,5 star rated album, one of the best I've listened, and after listening all of Moon Safari albums I choose the last as my favourite. In a complicated 2013 year this is surely a top tier.

3 Stars - My Little Man 4 Stars - Too Young to Say Goodbye, Red White Blues, Barfly, Kids 5 Stars - Mega Moon, Diamonds Hors Concours: Sugar Band (In my opinion, one of the top songs of the year)

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 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by oddworld

5 stars I'm going to give a track by track account of this album, but some tracks will have much more detail than others. This is not to take away from the tracks that don't get as much attention here. This is an extremely solid album, and I love every song on it!!!

KIDS... We are reminded a bit of Blomljud's Constant Bloom in this opener, but with a battle march feel to it. The vocals are so beautiful, and it sets us up for what you already can tell will be a magical album. 'Himlabacken' translates to 'Heaven Hill', a place where they used to play as kids, and if you already know that, as I did, you're sure to get chills when they sing 'Welcome to Heaven Hill'...

TOO YOUNG TO SAY GOODBYE... The intro gets you in the mind of wintertime, with kids sledding down the hill. The bells, Simon's Leslie speaker, the works. Perfectly painted picture, and sounding much like something the Trans Siberian Orchestra could come up with. After that, Pontus comes in with a beautiful theme on lead guitar. Petter sings the lead in this song, and if there is one thing these boys do amazingly well every time, it's put together an unbelievable melody. It's a little laid back, and very, very cool. The chorus is as catchy as ever, and they do some twists and turns with the harmonies as well. This song has one of my favorite guitar solos of the album, delivered beautifully by Pontus Akesson. The outro is all Simon on the piano, and it echoes that guitar melody I spoke of in the beginning of the song, and fades it out. Perfection...again.

MEGA MOON... This song plays out as a musical...very operatic, and although some have compared it to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody...I don't want to. It's got entirely it's own flavor. Of course, there's a catchy chorus, and the instrumental is awesome. All around incredible song.

BARFLY... Puts me in mind of the Beatles in many ways...mostly in the instrumental. The chorus is very, very simple this time, but every bit as catchy as any of the others. Gorgeous, heartfelt slide guitar in this one, too.

RED WHITE BLUES... The intro is very surreal and extremely beautiful. Composed flawlessly. The acoustic guitar break before the second verse is world class. When the singing comes in right after that, you are instantly transported back to that seventies quality sound where the melody and harmonies intertwine so perfectly...I'm thinking maybe Supertamp here? One of my favorite songs on the album.

MY LITTLE MAN... Pontus wrote this for his newborn son, and gave it an old-school country type feel with his guitar. Actually not much to say about this song since it is so simple, but it is upbeat, and lots of fun to listen to. It will make you smile, and you can tell he smiled the whole time he was writing it. Also, a guest appearance of the 'little man' himself on this track ;)

DIAMONDS... Again, although there isn't much I want to say about this song, it's one of my favorites! Just beauty. The lyrics are wise beyond their years, the way Simon sings it is so genuine and gorgeous. Some of the chord changes remind me a bit of Kansas in the Leftoverture years. Fantastic song.

SUGAR BAND... For me, this is 'epic' of the album. To me, epic just means big. And although this song is filled with candy, fantasy, and fairytale-esque themes, it is nothing to be taken lightly. In fact, imagine the first time you saw the Willie Wonka movie as a child. Remember how fantastic and big everything was? Now put all of that into a song, and you have Sugar Band. Beautiful vocal by Simon, the melodies are magical and in the style of a waltz; that is, until the chorus where I feel like I'm on a giant carousel. Before the last movement, the instrumental is the perfect composition to make this album feel like it was a complete show. At one point, the music reminds you of the end of one of those old variety shows where you can almost see credits rolling on a screen. When Pontus introduces his final guitar licks, the sound and the feel will just make you close your eyes and shake your head in absolute love for what the man is playing.

OVERALL... One thing we've come to expect from Moon Safari is the perfect marriage of infectious melodies and stunningly gorgeous harmonies. This album does not disappoint in that aspect. The instrumentation is stellar, they have seriously upped their game as far as the actual playing of their instruments. They keep going to new places musically, each time accomplishing tasteful, memorable works of art, and never losing sight of what makes them as great as they are. Very, very well done, boys.

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 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well, after so many fantastic new releases in 2013, I guess on ehad to be disappointing, even if just slightly disappointing. Please don´t get me wrong: Moon Safari´s most recently work is far from a weak album. The main problem is that, after producing two studio masterpieces and a terrific double live album in a row, you began to create maybe an unrealistic expectation towards this band. That´s the feeling I get.

Ok, the album starts very well with a short vocal dominated introduction (Kids) goind straight to the CD´s best track: Too Young To Say Goodbye. There´s nothing really new here, it sounds like an out take from their previous work, Lover´s End. But it also is a fine song and has the same freshness, high energy and joyful delivering the band was famous for, combining very well their outstanding instrumental musicanship with their absolute unique vocal style. From then on, though, it´s a slow decline. The songs begin to falter, being very well performed and sung, but lacking in inspiration. It seems the band is running out of ideas and repeating itself. Too much vocals and less instrumental passages. Some of the vocal parts are not as inspired either, looking like they were put there more to show off how technically skillful they are rather than to use it as a tool to enhance the melodies like before.

It´s hard to believe that tracks like My Little Man and Sugar Band are here. They are probably the weakest tracks I´ve heard from them since their debut. The latter being specially as cheese as the title implies. On the other side, the production is top notch and their performances as both vocalists and musicians are superb. The stuff can be inferior, but none is bad.

So in the end I found this record to be quite enjoyable despite its faults. Again maybe I was expeting too much. Perhaps they should have waited a little longer for their muse to come up with stronger tunes. Perhaps it´s both. Overall I liked it all, but simply there is nothing like a Lover´s End, nor A Kid Called Panic, much less an epic like The Other Half Of The Sky. Get my point?

Rating: 3,5 stars. Nice, very good, certainly above average. Yet, not the essential Moon Safari.

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 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I've been undecided regarding my feelings towards Himlabacken Vol.1 ever since hearing the album on Bandcamp around the time of its August 2013 release date. Since then I've seen Moon Safari perform a gig where they played four of the tracks off the record, purchased my copy of the album and played it from time to time over the last six months. Today I've finally come to a realization that made me feel ready to write down my thought on the endevour.

My initial reaction to Himlabacken Vol.1 was very positive and the album definitely felt like an obvious continuation of themes and styles that the band have coined on Lover's End. The music have continued to move away from Symphonic Prog, that was featured on [Blomljud], and into the realm om Crossover Prog. This doesn't mean that my affection for the band have diminished, on contrary! Ever since their debut album there have been strong tendencies towards the melodic and simpler approach to songwriting that sounded to me as if the band was undecided on which direction their music should take. Technical instrumental passages were often mixed with melodic and rhythmically accessible sections that, more often than not, sounded like a cut and paste job of someone with high ambitions at heart. This approach began to sway with the release of Lover's End in 2010. Compositions began to feel more to the point and the majority of the tracks were much shorter than anything that Moon Safari have been known for to this day.

Lover's End still had some very clear moments of Symphonic Prog with A Kid Called Panic being the prime example of the band wanting to sound more ambitious than what the remainder of the material made it out to be. The release of Himlabacken Vol.1 depicted a continued evolution of the music with even shorter compositions, with not a single track going past the 10 minute mark, and a slightly less technically tweaked sound. This by no means implies that Moon Safari have lost their charm on the progressive rock audience, but rather that their inspirations have shifted from Yes/Gentle Giant to Queen/10cc. The record features quite a few blissful art rock moments such as the anthem-like Too Young to Say Goodbye, playful Mega Moon and the joyful Diamonds.

The only real letdown, in terms of songwriting, comes right towards the end with Sugar Band. This 9 minute track made me hope for a grand progressive number but instead turned out to be a dull and sugar coated experience. Luckily, this one little misstep is far from a catastrophe and the rest of the album make up for this slight drop in quality. So why am I awarding this record a good, but non-essential rating instead of the much more deserving mark of excellence?

My feelings towards this release have always been somewhere on the fence, I do enjoy the album but don't consider it an essential masterpiece that should be heard by all fans of progressive rock music. I've come to the conclusion that Himlabacken Vol.1 is an adequate record for fans of Moon Safari's past endeavors that won't necessary bring them any more attention from the progressive rock community. Instead, I would much rather recommend this album to fans of art rock and melodic rock music. If you feel like you fit the profile then definitely give this record a try!

***** star songs: Too Young to Say Goodbye (6:28)

**** star songs: Kids (2:07) Mega Moon (8:21) Barfly (4:47) Red White Blues (5:08) My Little Man (2:55) Diamonds (6:42)

*** star songs: Sugar Band (9:33)

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 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings

4 stars Moon Safari was one of those bands that often showed up in Amazon's lists of what other customers purchased. I gave them some sample listens but didn't click the order button until this album came out. I somehow felt without giving this much of a sample listen that this album was worth getting. I suspect it was the strong vocal harmonies which had also attracted me to Haken's "The Mountain".

So, 'Himlabacken' (whose Swedish title 'Heaven Hill' was not lost on me of Danish background) became my introduction to Moon Safari. I was very impressed early on as both 'Kids' and 'Mega Moon' won my favour for the beautiful vocal harmonies. Although 'Kids' is shorter, it builds in drama while the voices of the six musicians sing beautiful harmonies. 'Mega Moon' in contrast frequently changes pace and mood and combines traces of Queen and light pop with barbershop quartet and at times a little more hard rock prog. In between these is 'Too Young to Say Goodbye' which I also enjoyed but to a lesser extent.

There is no question about the high level of composition and performance on this album. I had expected something a bit like the Flower Kings because of the association between the two bands but Moon Safari certainly have cut their own path with this album.

'Diamonds' is the third track to really stand out and beg for repeat listens with its beautiful piano intro and strong melody. I picked out the lines about Sid Barrett during the first listen because I had only finished reading Mark Blake's book on Pink Floyd a few weeks earlier and I had read the same thing.

'I don't know if this is really true or not, but a friend told me Sid Barrett said, that the only way to be free is to lie still in your bed and there's no end to the possibilities.'

I find myself pleased to hear a lot of the instruments and musical passages on this album, but there was one thing that kind of nagged at me. Was the music too cheery? Was it too much like children's prog (especially "Sugar Band")? Then I read one reviewer's comment that this sounds like an album for a musical and I realized he was quite right. I could easily imagine people dancing and singing on a theatre stage to much of the music here. In fact, I introduced some of the music to a friend of mine who loves musicals and dance performances and she said it might just be the kind of album she can enjoy listening to. Wow! Prog for the ladies at last? (This last comment made with apologies to the ladies who already have embraced this genre of music)

I've read other reviewers say that the older albums are better, so perhaps I should check those out. But for now I still keep spinning three or four of the tracks on a regular basis. The musical talent and quality of the sounds on this CD make me want to give it a good rating.

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 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by Silent Knight

4 stars If there's something here that amazes me, is the deep sense of melody those guys have - It is the kind of progressive rock i love: great melodies, pop sensibility and enough complexity without being exaggerating, perfect musicianship, and for Moon Safari, an ace in their sleeves - their vocals... Two lead singers and a layer of good backing vocals is a big advantage, indeed. As for this album...well, it is one of the best of the last years, that's for sure. I like the optimism of their music coming as a breath of fresh air, in a very depressing age, giving pure hope and smile. Many influences of the past spread all over the album ,filtered through Moon Safari's quite unique form - Kansas, Styx, Queen, The Beatles, a little bit of Gentle Giant, Abba, their compatriots, are some of them that I have noticed (I am not so sure but my ears are getting and some bits of Bruce Springsteen too!) Highlights are: Too Young To Say goodbye, Mega Moon, Barfly, Diamonds and Sugar Band. Moon Safari are young at age and if they keep up like this, future is very bright for them and i wish everything will come right for them, as well as for everyone of us!

ps: At Mega Moon 1:25 to 1:29, Petter Sandstr�¶m, i think, sounds like David Byron, same hue...

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 Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteĺ Serenade by MOON SAFARI album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
4.71 | 97 ratings

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Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteĺ Serenade
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars It must have been tough for Moon Safari to restrain themselves from including Skellefteĺ Serenade on their third album, Lover's End, but I definitely support this decision since it made the album more consistent while giving the band a chance of releasing their first EP!

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

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

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

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

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

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 Lover's End by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.91 | 347 ratings

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Lover's End
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars It would have been nearly impossible for Moon Safari to get even more ambitious than what they did on their second album and thus it might not seem too surprising that the band chose a different route for their third release. Lover's End was released towards the end of 2010, almost 2,5 years after the release of their ambitious sophomore record [Blomljud] and showed another significant change in the band's direction. The album featured a slightly softer sound and thus leaving out many of the previously significant progressive elements from the two previous releases. The compositions were shortened down, with only two of the 8 tracks being longer than nine minutes, which made less room for instrumental interludes and fewer sections within each composition.

Does this necessarily mean that Lover's End is a weaker album in terms of its progressiveness? Well, it's not like Moon Safari have completely abandoned their prog tendencies, instead they sharpened their songwriting by not allowing their compositions to overstay their individual welcome. Instead we get a more natural flow of material with each track featuring just enough ideas and execution to allow listeners to enjoy and appreciate the music without being bored by excessive prog sections just for the sake of it. I feel that there is a certain trend among quite a few bands (especially under the Crossover Prog sub-genre) that border on the edge between prog and pop music that often chose to feature certain prog elements just too receive the prog label, which will ensure that prog rock fans will listen to it.

The album's stand-out track is also its most technically ambitious composition titled A Kid Called Panic. This track is a complete bliss from start to finish and features a diverse set of elements that will appeal to fans of pop, art rock and prog rock alike. Other highlights feature the melodically driven Heartland and the beautiful and atmospheric The World's Best Dreamers. I honestly can't think of any disappointing compositions since the shorter track lengths allows even some of the less interesting moments to shine without overstaying their welcome.

If you are a fan of very melodic and harmonic music then Lover's End is definitely an album that you should discover. It's not as ambitious or technical as [Blomljud] but there are just enough progressive moments to make it count as a solid progressive rock album.

***** star songs: A Kid Called Panic (13:57) Heartland (5:47)

**** star songs: Lover's End pt. I (6:43) Southern Belle (3:47) The World's Best Dreamers (5:46) New York City Summergirl (4:08) Crossed The Rubicon (9:46) Lover's End pt. II (1:57)

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 [Blomljud] by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.15 | 380 ratings

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[Blomljud]
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

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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 Himlabacken Vol.1 by MOON SAFARI album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 260 ratings

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Himlabacken Vol.1
Moon Safari Symphonic Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars Enough sugar for heart failure

2013 has been a pretty exciting prog year, one of the reasons for me being my acquaintance with this exceptionally interesting band from Sweden. Seeing them performing live was a very good experience, which introduced me to their sugary, albeit fairly unique, sound. A talented bunch of musicians who can all sing, two keyboard players and the marriage of old and new are pretty good constituents.

"Disney prog" said a fellow progger on the radio the other day and I don't blame him, and I don't think Moon Safari would outwardly reject this tag either... Queen meets Beach Boys meets Kansas meets Abba and a bit of Gentle Giant on moogy keyboards is what you get from Himlabacken vol.1, apparently a concept of personal experiences. Extremely melodic to the point of misunderstanding, Himlabacken appears as a very genuine expression of feelings and talent but somehow lacks the extra punch to make it a truly great album, although it is not short of moments of greatness.

'Too Young to Say Goodbye', 'Red White Blues' and 'Diamonds' show what this band is capable of, balancing the melody with grandiose progressive rock structures. Obvious is the great influence that Queen (on the vocal melodies) and Kansas (on the keyboard parts) have had on Moon Safari, but they filter those through their own style, producing something new. The rest of the tracks are not bad but come with their ups and downs, some fairly simple ('My Little Man') or rather long for what they offer ('Mega Moon' and 'Sugar Band') and all come with an extra dose of sweetness (or cheesiness as many would call it).

Definitely not recommended for diabetics, Himlabacken is a very good album, which could have done better with more consistency in quality - still a highlight of 2013 and a great promise for future works. 3.5 stars.

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