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Moon Safari - Blomljud CD (album) cover


Moon Safari


Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 491 ratings

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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.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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