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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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Nightfly
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Firstly I should make it clear that this review is based on the standard 1 disc version as opposed to the limited edition 2 disc set.

After the excellent Passengers, Storms Over Still Water though having some good moments was a bit of a disappointment. I'm pleased to say that Heart Full of Sky is a vast improvement and return to form with overall much stronger songs. In fact I would go as far to say that it is a strong contender for their best yet.

Often cited as being the next Pink Floyd, while no doubt helping the band gain some much needed exposure, is not altogether true. Sure there's Floyd influences in their sound, particularly on their earlier albums but with each release they seem to have moved further away from that. There's still some of the Folk influences present, though again less with each new album, Mostly Autumn these days are a lot of the time a much heavier proposition. However there's still plenty of room for the quieter more reflective moments usually sung by Heather Findlay who has developed into a fine Vocalist over the last few albums. Thankfully on more recent albums she takes far more lead Vocals over Bryan Josh whose deadpan delivery has always been a weak point of the band for me. Okay he's a useful foil to Findlay for backing vocals but doesn't have the character in his voice to be a great singer, though admittedly much improved over recent years.

The instrumentation here is very rich with lots of dynamics. Simple but effective rhythmic structures lay the foundations for lush Keyboards and powerful Guitars with some lovely solos from Josh. Acoustic Guitar, Flute (less so these days) and Violin add the more folky elements and as on Broken the sound is more orchestrated.

The album gets off to a great 1 - 2 start with the powerful Fading Colours, Mostly Autumn at their most bombastic and is one of the album highlights. Nearly as good though more restrained is Half a World with a lovely vocal from Findlay. Pocket Watch is a fairly mundane mid tempo Rocker; much better is Blue Light, one of the quieter moments, again with another strong performance from Findlay.

Another album highlight follows with the nearly 8 minute Walk With a Storm. Starting slowly, but powerfully with a unison Findlay/Josh vocal, the track builds to a mid-section climax with a tasty Violin solo from guest, Peter Knight and another searing Guitar solo, taking us towards the end.

Things calm down again for Find the Sun, a hauntingly beautiful atmospheric piece and good use being made of a melancholic sounding Violin; a lovely track. Ghost also starts off atmospherically on the verse, some nice guitar picking from Josh, also taking the vocal until the track explodes for the chorus with Findlay taking over. The previously mentioned Broken follows, tastefully played and sung throughout and the same can be said of Silver Glass.

Further From Home, the penultimate song has a long instrumental start, once again another nice Josh solo and there's Angela Gordon's Flute! Not used nearly enough on this album which is a shame. The track then revisits the theme of opening track Fading Colours which might have been a nice way to tie up the album. That job is left to Dreaming, at 8 and a half minutes the longest track on the album. Another powerful track with lots of tempo/time shifts keeping it interesting; a worthy closer.

At the time of writing, Mostly Autumn are due to release a new album in the next few days. Hopefully it will maintain the quality set by this one.

Nightfly | 4/5 |

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