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Mostly Autumn - The Last Bright Light  CD (album) cover

THE LAST BRIGHT LIGHT

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 165 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The high water mark for Mostly Autumn, "The Last Bright Light" represents the point at which they most successfully integrated the Floydian atmospherics with their celtic leanings, to produce something resembling a unique vision. Up until this point, most songs would either heavily lean in one direction or another, which resulted in quaint but aimless contrasts, and after this album, the group virtually abandoned the folky elements in favour of a sort of cottage industry of re-releases and anthologies that would make bands thirty years their senior blush.

The album starts with a few decent tracks, but nothing earth shattering. It roars to life with perhaps the best shorter piece of their career, "The Dark Before the Dawn". This is simply a brilliantly constructed work of emotional intensity, featuring flute in the most unlikely places, desperate vocals, including a perfectly timed scream, and guitars by Josh and a hook that will grab you for hours. Luckily, the quality does not diminish with the next more subdued song, "Hollow", this time sung by Findlay and wedding the two disparate styles of the band as well as anything they have done. The electric piano/acoustic guitar combination in the break is inspired. Two more gems follow, the overtly celtic "Prints in the Stone" and the emotive and explosive title cut, which is the most Floydian sounding to this point, but like Floyd with a needed dose of endorphins and a greater sense of melody. None of these are simply good songs, but instead works of awe, in different ways that keep the listener from ever drifting.

"Never the Rainbow" is a weaker, almost standard rock track with the exception of some decent organ. But then we have another major epic highlight, "Shrinking Violet". gently sung by Findlay to a timeless tune before the more dramatic instrumental flourishes that feature breathtaking dualling lead guitars and wordless feminine vox. "Which Wood" is a pagan-ish prelude to the 12 minute finale, "Mother Nature". This begins very Genesis like, almost like "Ripples", but builds in a different direction as it pronounces how our Earth Mother must feel about the havoc wreaked by mankind. It's not quite the closing that is "The Gap is Wide" from the previous album but close enough. Josh's guitar near the end is far more bluesy than his typical solos, and the notes are all much less diffuse, a refreshing change.

"The Last Bright Light" is held back from a 5 star rating by its unspectacular first few songs, which could have been left off and still resulted in a recording of sufficient length. Sometimes less is more, but this is still a wondrous work, and the one recommended for newcomers to the band.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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