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When Swedish band Moon Safari released Himlabacken, Vol. 1 back in 2013 it was reasonable to expect that Vol. 2 would be just around the corner. That was not to be the case, and fans of the band wondered if, perhaps, they were calling it quits. It is tough for independent bands to make it financially, and COVID didn’t help. But the long-awaited follow up arrived at the end of 2023, and the album was worth the wait.

Moon Safari is a six-piece band and, while they show plenty of instrumental prowess, the noteworthy thing about this band is their vocals. All six members sing, often at the same time in multilayered harmonies. The result is complex rock with serious pop hooks.

Himlabacken translates to “heaven hill,” and references to heaven show up often in the songs. The music is generally upbeat and sunny, typified by the single “Emma, Come On,” a catchy and quirky pop song with great lead and harmony vocals and musical twists and turns that will keep you tapping your foot while also trying to figure out the meter. (Hint: the chorus is in 9/8 time.) Moon Safari is not all lightweight pop tunes, though. “Teen Angel Meets the Apocalypse” is a 21-minute, multi-part, epic piece of music.

This is an album that is imminently listenable and has enough depth, musically and lyrically, to give you something to consider for quite some time. Himlabacken, Vol. 2 is a very good album, which makes us glad to be invited back to explore heaven hill a second time with Moon Safari. (Blomljud Records)

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