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Autumn Whispers - Cry of Dereliction Vol.II CD (album) cover


Autumn Whispers


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 13 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The end of 2013 sees the return of crossover prog band Autumn Whispers with a second volume follow-up to their original debut `Cry of Dereliction' album, and once again it's a mix sure to interest fans of the melodic song-writing end of progressive rock. It's another pleasing collection of Mercury Rev-like indie/psych rock, haunting ballads and atmospheric rock, and they even get a chance to stretch their prog muscles with a 13 minute piece. Actually, the press release for the album claims the band would prefer to be considered "Poetic rock with progressive and classical elements based on enigmatic poetry", so there you go, who am I to argue with the lass and lads of Autumn Whispers! Tirill Mohn (in quite a contemporary setting away from her preferred prog/folk style), her partner Dino Steffens and Liew Ceng Teng, along with additional guests have crafted an ambitious song-driven collection of grown up rock and dream pop, with a strong emphasis on soul-examining lyrics to ponder and find a personal connection with. Also, 'Tron fiends should know that the whole thing is dipped in Mellotron majesty!

The dreamy opener `Fire and Ice' gently flows with Dino's charmingly accented and silky voice over the most placid of Mellotron, the Flaming Lips/Beatle-esque psych-pop of `Auguries of Innocence' would make John Lennon smile (no easy feat!), and the sighing and ever so slightly malevolent `A Bird Can't Fly' wouldn't have sounded out of place on Tirill's solo album `A Dance with the Shadows/Tales from Tranquil August Gardens'. `Walls' picks up the tempo for a chugging hard- rock stomper perhaps more reminiscent of folk proggers Mostly Autumn, the loopy psychedelic `The Puppet's Monologue' is playful with a charmingly wasted sound, while fans of Air and especially their `Virgin Suicides' album will love the urgency of `I Measure Every Grief I Meet', with a similar Mellotron pattern to their `Highschool Lover' track. The confident `A Child Dancing In The Wind' is a folk piece played on electric instruments with a dazzling instrumental second half, especially highlighted by Liew Ceng Teng's whirling keyboards with some nice bass playing from Thodoris Kouelis. `Jasmin' is a lonely acoustic guitar lament with the most subtle and secret organ hum in the background, while `Autumn' closes the album on a drowsy hymn to the seasons, eager for "The songs of summer, a fragrant breeze and fluttering wings, in the yard of Autumn, our tryst...". It flows into the loveliest of floating instrumentals, blissful delicate harmonies from Tirill and a glowing extended electric guitar solo that makes me think of the spiritual ecstasy that sometimes Jason Pierce of Spiritualized gets so right.

I'll draw added attention to a couple of extra special moments! Not surprisingly the 13-minute title track will be of great interest to prog fans, and the trio sure don't disappoint here. All dreamy and somber atmosphere, book-ended with glorious Mellotron, moving seamlessly through a number of emotions and moods. Stirring shared male/female vocals, grand winding David Gilmour-esque emotional guitar soloing, symphonic synth bridges, ambient sound effects and a very disorientating middle instrumental section. Lots of `prog' boxes ticked here, but not for a second is it uninspired or merely going through the motions, it makes for an extremely haunting and thought-provoking extended piece, and it doesn't sound out of place amongst the shorter pieces that dominate much of the rest of the album.

But my personal favourite is right near the start. Over the sounds of children playing, `Nostalgia' is unsurprisingly sweet and warm with delicate cooing shared lead vocals from Tirill and Dino, their voices beautifully blending together, with a tasteful electric guitar solo and some nicely scratchy Mellotron to wrap around your heart. I love the lyrics "Young and guilt free, beneath a clear blue sky, take my hand and lead me back in time, show me yesterday hasn't been left behind", I think everyone can relate to that magical and faraway notion, likely lost as the years have passed by.

`Cry of Dereliction: vol 2' displays even more variety than the great debut, showcasing a band refining and perfecting their sound, really gelling and offering a seamless blend of styles of interest to fans of prog, psych, indie/alt and exciting adult rock music. Also, female fans with a keen ear for strong melodies and thoughtful words, who usually don't move as easily towards progressive related music, will fit in perfectly with Autumn Whispers. To me, they also make the perfect music for couples to enjoy, so grab that someone special in your life and grow to love a near perfect collection of classy and timeless tunes.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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