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Mostly Autumn - Heart Full of Sky CD (album) cover

HEART FULL OF SKY

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.45 | 81 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I just can’t get into this album. Even though I’ve been a big Mostly Autumn fan since the first time I heard “Heroes Never Die” and “Evergreen”, this batch of songs just doesn’t do much for me. And I call it a batch of songs and not an album because that’s what it sounds like. There’s no continuity to speak of, something fans have pretty much come to expect from these guys.

The lineup is mostly the same, with the exception of a new keyboardist. But there’s always enough going on in a Mostly Autumn arrangement that one musician isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference one way or another (with the exception of the still- awesome Heather Findlay of course, who is pretty much indispensable).

And that’s the one thing you have to give these guys credit for – their musicianship. There are an awful lot of talented musicians both as members and as guests on this any every other Mostly Autumn album, and the sonic richness of the music and outstanding studio production has to be appreciated.

But beyond that, the innovation and passion and novelty are just not there this time. This is a labor of must, not of love. I would imagine there was a recording contract obligation deadline involved here.

Not that there’s anything horribly amiss – there isn’t. Any maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe if Findlay farted in the middle of a track or Bryan Josh had a guitar string break or there were a few off-key notes then at least I’d know these guys were actually alive and not propped up mailing this thing in from no-engagement land. But there isn’t, so I don’t. Every note is precise, every tempo change and rhythm well-orchestrated. Kind of reminds me of an Explorer’s Club album in that respect – so perfect you just don’t like it. Kind of like that girl you knew in school who looked so much like a model and was so poised and perfect that all the guys seemed to have an innate instinct to avoid her, and today she’s a middle-aged spinster working at a bookstore and stuffing envelopes for political campaigns on weekends.

So I guess what I’m saying is that this thing needs some dirt, some flaws, maybe some secreted bodily fluids spilled on it to give it some life. The opening track “Fading Colours” is quintessential Mostly Autumn – soaring guitars from Josh, Findlay’s gorgeous voice mixed with his, and a rhythmic hook that keeps you listening until the last note. Great stuff, and obviously written as a single. A great and promising beginning. And “Half a World” is a decent slower number, although it seems a bit early in a two-disc album to be slowing things down so that people on the floor can slow-dance. Whatever.

But that’s about it. Shocking – a two-disc set that shoots its wad in the first twelve minutes. The acoustic brooding ballad “Gaze” on disc two prominently features Findlay’s voice without Josh’s, which is a definite plus but otherwise it’s not really an exceptional track. And “Softer than Brown” is a decent closer with the Josh and Findlay in a duet with a tense guitar outro that leaves the listener hanging a bit (probably intended as a cliffhanger for the next album, I suppose). The rest of the album sounds like one well-produced filler track after another. Unfortunately there’s nearly two hours of this in total.

I really can’t recommend this much, especially considering the price and the amount of time you’d have to invest in listening to the whole thing a couple of times. If you are one of those lipstick-goth angst-ridden teen types who fancies themselves a Mostly Autumn fan then you’ll probably like this because the music will provide a nice aural backdrop to your angst-ing. But if you listen to these guys to see what they will come up with next that is new and fresh, keep looking. You won’t find much here. Two stars.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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