Monday, September 30, 2013

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Review: Moon Safari - Himlabacken Vol 1 (2013)

Artist: Moon Safari
Album: Himlabacken Vol 1
Year: 2013
Label: Blomljud Records

Review: Diego Camargo

Rate: 

Thoughts: Moon Safari is a unique band that comes from Skellefteå, Sweden and was formed in 2003.
Consisting of Simon Åkesson (vocals and keyboards), Petter Sandström (vocals and acoustic guitars), Pontus Åkesson (acoustic & electric guitars and vocals), Johan Westerlund (bass and vocals), Tobias Lundgren (drums, percussion and vocals) and Sebastian Åkesson (keryboards, percussion and vocals) the band has always had a very straight relationship with another Swedish band, The Flower Kings.
Their first album A Doorway To Summer (2005) was produced by the Flower Kings keyboard player Tomas Bodin and this new album Himlabacken Vol 1 (2013) was mixed and mastered by The Flower Kings bass player Jonas Reingold.

What is more, Himlabacken Vol 1 (2013) is a concept album that for sure will have a second part soon. The albums talks about Heavenly Hill (a rough translation of the album title), a place where the band grew up.

The album starts with ‘Kids’ and it couldn’t be more pastoral and divine. A kids song for sure, makes you remember even of your own old days. If there’s one thing that makes Moon Safari unique, it is the vocals.
Moon Safari sound mixes catchy melodies with the Prog sophistication like no one else does, as if The Beach Boys grew up to be a Prog band in the 70’s.
‘Too Young To Say Goodbye’ is another great example of how to write a perfect melody and yet have the complexity of Prog Rock going.
Himlabacken Vol 1 (2013) starts to show what game the band is playing, and this is a game you definitely should sit back and watch till the end.

If the next track, ‘Mega Moon’ reminded you a bit of ‘Ave Maria’… well, so did for me! The first vocal bit of the track proves me right! The instrumental part in the middle is full of great breaks.
This is a Moon Safari classic!


‘Barfly’ has an intense and heavy initial riff, Spock’s Beard like. When the vocals start it gets a bit softer. They paid a good homage with some steel guitars by Pontus Åkesson, it’s exactly the same style used for George Harrison!
‘Red White Blues’ is their acoustic side speaking louder. Moon Safari has two main vocalists, Simon Åkesson and Petter Sandström. This is one thing that always made me smile when I listen to a band. The sound usually gets so much better with all these different colors added.

‘My Little Man’ once again shows the band’s acoustic side and it must be Pontus Åkesson homage to his baby son. It’s almost a solo piece and it has a big pop feeling.
Songs pass by and it’s ‘Diamonds’ time. A song that brings all Moon Safari trade marks on it. ‘Diamonds’ has also a great lyric, the story telling kind which the bass player Johan Westerlund is so good at.
The best track on the album, for sure!

To finish Himlabacken Vol 1 (2013) we have the piano intro of ‘Sugar Band’. The track is like an unnamed homage to the fantastic work of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, at least it seems so to me.
Another great track.

Although Moon Safari hasn’t shown anything new on Himlabacken Vol 1 (2013), it’s definitely one of their best albums. Moreover, they mastered their sound on a perfection level.
The band has made this album one of the strongest and prettiest albums of 2013.

Highly recommended!

The band was included in our Podcasts #6 & 26 and you can listen the tracks 'Lover's End Pt. 3' HERE and 'Diamonds' HERE.

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