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Mostly Autumn - Glass Shadows CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.43 | 116 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The best album since Passengers, this is Mostly Autumn at their very best once again. The blend of melody, Floydian guitarwork and folky passages on this album is as good as it ever was, almost as good as on The Last Bright Light. The one beaming issue here however is what direction they are going in. They started off a kind of Progressive Folk Poppish blend, followed through into a pure prog folk phase and now they end up back to their roots: something is missing though. The prog bit. This could so easily pass as being a regular pop album, so i will bare that in mind whilst reviewing it.

The album starts off very well with Fireside, an enjoyable track with a very bluesy rock edge to it, much unlike anything from their previous works. The harmonies are very noticeable also, following the lines of the mixolidian; this is one of the key elements in Mostly Autumn's music. They seem to avoid contemporary classical techniques and strictly obide by traditional folk and medieval harmonies, something which bands and musicians tend not to do nowadays. A subtle trait to Mostly Autumn's music.

The album's second track of the album is called The Second Hand, quite ironic and probably the cheesy intention of the band. I'm not a fan of this track, it goes on a bit and drags a lot. I won't say too much about it as it's nothing special. Flowers For Guns however is great, I really love this song, the circular melody is immensely catchy, and, as usual, Heather's voice is lush to listen to. In this track the folky roots are re-exposed and it is quite a breath of fresh air. Bryan Josh is pretty hot on the acoustic guitar also, his tone is marvellous. If only he would keep to his guitar all the time...

Unoriginal Sin is the second highlight of the album, a very strong track with a beautiful melodic line, tight rhythm, divine harmonies and an extremely good verse. Heather is also singing lead on this one, which makes it all so much better, it's immeasurable. Likewise with the next track. In my opinion, Paper Angels is an instant Autumn classic, the best track on this album and definitely in the top ten songs of 2008 at least. It is that good! Here they cleverly blend common folk chords with classical music and is the ultimate modern prog power ballad, it is a night with scarlett johannson in music form. The guitar solo is very tasteful, the piano is well played and rightfully simplistic and Heather is at her finest vocally. I guarantee your neck-hairs will raise at 2:30 at the pinnacle acoustic point and they will set on fire as soon as the Paper Angels chant ends and Bryan Josh enters with a blistering guitar solo. The vocals then re-enter for a final time to ultimate this utterly beautiful piece of mastery. Of course, I overglorify the song to some ears, but listen to it a couple of times and you'll see where I'm coming from. This kind of beauty has only ever been topped by Evergreen off their previous albums.

Tearing At The Faerytale is a Bryan Josh song that progresses in the Floydian vein to a pretty good solo and has some decent acoustic moments. Not a highlight, but not a filler either. A likeable track, but not a loveable track that reveals Autumn's heavier side towards the end. Above The Blue is another beautiful Heather Findlay song accompanied by the piano once again, and although not as stunning as Paper Angels, very enjoyable and another highlight. Her vocal charm is by no means shied away in this song either.

Glass Shadows is probably the bands worst epic to date. I said it straight off because it is, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Mostly Autumn have always dealt out a good hand as far as epics go: take The Gap Is Too Wide and Shrinking Voilet for example. But this doesn't compare to those classics and it comes to no surprise that people before me have criticised it. All else aside though, it is still very good. I particularly love the beginning 4-5 minutes as they are especially Floydian and very dark. The rest is quite predictable though, it has to be said. Enjoyable nonetheless. Until The Story Ends is a bit like the acoustic songs in Last Bright Light, so no problem there. Very celtic with promenant percussion and flute parts, fans of Jethro Tull will appreciate this one.

The finale is superb. A pop song, yes. A prog song, no. But just 'cos it ain't prog doesn't mean it ain't good! I think it wraps the album up very stylishly and well. Excellent.

My only complaint of this album is the second song, which is pretty damn awful. This album is by no means prog though, and because this is PROGarchives, the highest i can rate it is 4 stars. Sure it has prog moments, but as a whole it's a well written folk-pop album. If you enjoy good music though, this album is for you. Best release of 2008 IMHO. Brilliant.

The Pessimist | 4/5 |


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