When the Swedish band Moon Safari planned their 2012 European tour, they wanted to take along a musical surprise for their fans. Recording a complete new album wasn't possible for there wasn't enough time. However, a release with some new material could be done! At the time the band recorded their latest album Lover's End (2010, see review) they couldn't include all the songs they'd written. One piece that lasted for nearly 25 minutes was left out. This track, Lover's End Pt. III: Skellefteå Serenade would be a perfect surprise, a kind of a souvenir, for the people who intended to visit their concerts in Europe!
After their superb concert at Lakei in Helmond (see review) they gave me this newly recorded surprise. This mini-CD was named after their hometown in Sweden. I already heard a live version of this track that I loved a lot. After listening to the studio version I dare to say that Moon Safari again succeeded in composing an excellent epic. These musicians are real virtuosos on their instruments! This new epic piece reminded me of A Kid Called Panic and Heartland, two tracks from their latest studio album featuring guitar and keyboard parts that often reminded me of bands as Genesis, Yes and The Flower Kings. Again Simon Åkesson proved to be an excellent keyboardist who provided some brilliant synthesizer solos and outstanding playing on the piano. His brother Pontus Åkesson shines as well and delivers a breathtaking guitar solo towards the end thus giving the song a superb climax. Their younger brother Sebastian Åkesson added several parts on the guitars and keyboards and I think you'll miss him when he's absent. Drummer Tobias Lundgren and bass player Johan Westerlund make sure that the rhythmic parts sound perfect throughout.
Together with Simon Åkesson, Petter Sandström is responsible for the distinguished lead vocals. I already mentioned it before; Moon Safari not only consists of competent musicians, but their vocal capabilities even exceed their musicianship. Without exception they all have strong voices that perfectly fit together. That's why the harmony singing is just awesome on this new piece just like on their previous records. Again I could easily compare them to a barbershop quartet or to the likes of The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Flower Kings, The Beatles and Yes, but I guess I repeat myself. Music wise you could say that this piece is a roller coaster containing several moods. Sometimes you'll hear mellow parts with classical influences; at other times you can enjoy aggressive up-tempo passages. But whatever they play, these musicians are always capable of blending all parts into one superb epic that belongs to their best-written songs of their musical career. Every minute of this 25-minute piece is worthwhile listening to; it's a real treat to people who enjoy the above-mentioned bands.
As far as I'm concerned Moon Safari is the best, or in any case currently belongs to the best Swedish bands. With this new mini-album they proved it again and therefore I have to rate it with the maximum of five stars. It's well-deserved indeed!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013