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Mostly Autumn - The Spirit Of Autumn Past CD (album) cover

THE SPIRIT OF AUTUMN PAST

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.81 | 111 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars Between 2.5 and 3 stars!!!

Well I was never really a fan of group that openly declare their flame for older bands and set out to sound like them but also do just about everything to link their name to the great Ancients, in hope to gather enough attention and make a fast buck. Don't get me wrong, I'm not accusing MA of wilfully plagiarising or cloning Floyd (if on the whole they are better musicians than their idols, songwriting-wise, they are far from equalling them), but in their early period, they clung like leeches to the Floyd name (as if their lives depended on it) with those stinky "Classic Rock" items and their New Pink Floyd posters. Whether that was their or Cyclops label's strategy is irrelevant, the fact is that they were disgraceful in doing so, and for this writer, this will probably be held against them for many more years to come. Rant over!! (I hope ;-)

The thing that strikes is that they were eight in recording this album when it appears that five would be enough, and with Brian Josh holding the overwhelming majority f the writing credits, with the luscious Heather, the discreet Faulds and the shy Ian Jennings sharing the leftover crumbs. Professionally speaking, the album is rather excellently executed, the finished product rather impressive (well I would've found a more evocative front artwork), and the commercial approach.. (Ok!! change of subject ;-)

So where's the problem? Well, it is exactly where it hurts: artistically! I sense the whole concept fairly shallow (maybe a I should say hollow instead), as if it was some kind of theme and they got stuck with it and forced themselves to come out with a full album. This of course means your fair shake of fillers and lengths disguised as instrumental interplay. And as you'd expect, the autumn concept inevitably falls onto the "magical/mystical" forest life. Couldn't you just smell that one coming as you first read the album title? On the other hand, thankfully they avoid the troll/castle clichés. This is why I still would rather use the word hollow, because on the musical virtuosity, there is no lack of depth.

This is not to say that the music is helpless, quite the contrary, because there are some wonderful moments where the band strikes where it counts, even if a lot of those moments are fairly derivative of their idols and sometimes of Marillion (more the early- Hogarth period) and the odd Yes bit. Tracks like Evergreen and Gap Is Too Wide are close to awesome, even if a tad over-dramatic, it grabs you by the gut and you become like putty in Heather's hands. Counterbalancing cheesy, uninventive, predictable tracks like Through The Window and the title track, I guess.

But having seen the group in concert, I understand that they got their loyal following, because their cheesier moments are very communicative for the progheads, knowing that the superb Heather is subjugating them and the no-less babelicious flauter Angela is blinding them like the sun, forcing their unsuspecting victims to take the plunge in the fondue. And this is not even the real Swiss fondue with Emmenthal, Gruyère and Vacherin (or Apenzeller), but some cheap sounding one with Dutch and Finnish substitute copies. Yuuuuckkkk!!!.. ;-) The group uses and abuses clichés like they were on sale a "7 for the price of 2". Indeed their frequent uses of jigs are one of their more scandalous and cheesy aspects of their music. As I am the folk prog specialist of this site, I LOATHE jigs, as they are one of the worst folk clichés and I think that that particular type of song type does a huge dis-service/mis-favour to the entire folk music genre. This is one of my main gripe against Horslips, BTW! And in this album present, the jig parts come a little too often and regularly (of course they come in handy when they lost the momentum with their listeners), using them like crutches. Uilleann pipes (I like those) are also used a bit cheesily in the great closing , but I guess that was a lost piece of parmaggiano lost on the plate.

Now that I've spewed my bile all over the band via this review (tough but fair), I will now do away with the love part of my love/hate relation with Mostly Fall. How I envy Josh to share the stage with two so superb creatures and I'd be the happiest moose if my bed was my forest stage shared with those two graceful does.

Eeeehhmm!!!!.... I think you get the picture ;-)

As for the album, by all means don't go trusting me alone on this see for yourself, but remember my utterances when you listen to it.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |

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