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Mostly Autumn - Glass Shadows CD (album) cover

GLASS SHADOWS

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.41 | 84 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Hercules
5 stars I have to confess, the first time I played this, I was somewhat perplexed. You normally know exactly what you'll get from Mostly Autumn; heavenly female vocals, blissful guitar solos, great melodies and some folky romps on the positive side; some very dodgy male vocals and some slightly bland tracks in amongst the gems on the negative side. This album has all the positives (bar the folky romps) and very few negatives; finally, Bryan Josh has learned to write songs he can sing without revealing his vocal limitations.

I had had a tip off that this was going to be special, but this album didn't smack me between the eyes like some of their earlier ones; however, after several plays it has grown into a real gem. In all, it's a triumph - much better than Heart Full of Sky. It does seem as if Heather Findlay and Bryan Josh have done their own things on the composing side, as each song is dominated by one or the other, and the lack of a specialist keyboards player is revealed by some simplification compared to previous efforts. However, the addition of Henry Bourne on the drums gives them a new rhythmic solidity and Andy Smith adds some driving bass.

Fireside opens with a heavy riff which shows that they're not afraid to rock, but it isn't the best track on the album despite a couple of fine Josh solos. Second Hand has some characteristics of the awful Pocket Watch from Heart Full of Sky but is far more interesting and tuneful. Flowers for Guns is the first real gem, complex female harmonies interlocking over a beautiful acoustic tune embellished by flute and melodic guitar. Unoriginal Sin is a Findlay special with great vocals driven along by Andy Smith's bass and with some fine guitar and piano. Paper Angels is much gentler and reflective, starting off with just piano and voice until the whole band join in for the climax, driven by another superb Josh solo.

Tearing at the Faerytale sounds like it should be a Tolkein inspired romp but it is more Heroes Never Die revisited. Slow acoustic guitar and voice for the first 2 minutes leads into one of the best 4 minutes of progressive rock I've ever heard. If you don't sing along with the "Wild West Hero" chorus you have no soul and the Josh guitar playing is perfect. The end is a bit strange but this track alone is worth the price of the album. Above the Blue shows off Heather Findlay's beautiful voice to good effect, backed only by piano with occasional orchestration and percussion - a beautiful piece of art.

Glass Shadows is long, slow and dark and takes a few plays to get into, though it becomes a bit more upbeat towards the end. Until the Story Ends is magnificent, Josh and Findlay singing a glorious melody beautifully in harmony over some marvellous guitar and pipes. A Different Sky is almost a 3 minute pop song - very upbeat and catchy - which could have been done by Fleetwood Mac, only MA do it with more class. A perfect end.

Positives: virtually all the tracks are excellent, but it takes a few plays to appreciate this. Negatives: I'm not that keen on the title track or Fireside which are just OK.

Overall, this gets the highest rating and reestablishes Mostly Autumn where they deserve to be - back at the top.

Hercules | 5/5 |

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