The third album of Moon Safari should have ended in my ultimate top-10 of 2010. However, I received Lover's End too late and so these Swedish musicians will miss the album in my personal top-10. Readers of Background Magazine may wonder why it should earn such a high position. Well, the band already impressed me with A Doorway To Summer (2005) and Blomljud (2008). Their live performances at Symforce 2009 in Tilburg (see review) and at the10th Convention Prog-RÚsiste in Verviers (see review) made a big impact on me as well. So it was obvious that expectations ran high for their third record. Fortunately the band didn't let me down, just as I had expected. Johan Westerlund (bass, vocals), Pontus ┼kesson (electric guitar, vocals), Petter Sandstr÷m (acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals), Simon ┼kesson (keyboards, vocals), Tobias Lundgren (drums, vocals) and new member Sebastian ┼kesson (keyboards, guitars, vocals) can be very proud of what they delivered on Lover's End.
These musicians are real virtuosi on their instruments as we can learn from tracks as A Kid Called Panic or Heartland. The guitar and keyboard parts are superb and often remind me of bands as Genesis, Yes and The Flower Kings. Not only are they competent musicians, their vocal capacities even exceed their craftsmanship on the instruments. Without exception all musicians have strong voices that fit perfectly together. That's why the harmony singing is just breathtaking, especially at the beginning of several tracks. Good examples are Crossed The Rubicon, Southern Belle, Lover's End pt. II and New York City Summergirl. The last one has a very nice vocal outro on which a part of Frank Sinatra's well-known New York, New York is played on the piano. In my live review I already compared the strong vocals to those of a barbershop quartet and I named The Beach Boys. However, I could easily have named bands as Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Flower Kings, The Beatles and Yes as well; in fact all artists that raised harmony singing to a standard. It's obvious that Moon Safari must have been influenced by them one way or another.
I have another remark to make on Crossed The Rubicon. When listening to the first notes you might think you're going to listen to Joe Cocker's version of With A Little Help From My Friends. This is probably coincidental, because the rest of the track has nothing to do with this well-known Beatles tune. However, the fact remains that the album ends with strong harmony singing on Lover's End pt. II that could easily have been done by The Beatles; a coincident? For the attentive readers of this review it's evident that I can't enumerate any negative remarks. All eight tracks are of an incredible high international level and production wise it just sounds top-notch. I had so much fun listening to this release that words hardly can describe my feelings about it. In my opinion Moon Safari really accomplished something special. It's a true masterpiece since everything is just awesome on this album. I think Moon Safari currently is the best band from Sweden, so welcome to the top! You delighted the prog community with a five-star masterpiece. Well-deserved indeed!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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