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Mostly Autumn - Catch The Spirit - The Complete Anthology CD (album) cover

CATCH THE SPIRIT - THE COMPLETE ANTHOLOGY

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

4.35 | 30 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars CATCH THE SPIRIT!

Once you catch the spirit, you will be mesmirised by Mostly Autumn.

I was introduced to this criminally underappreciated, but nevertheless phenomenal, prog band last year. I don't know where they had been hiding, but no magazine or TV show had even mentioned them. I saw the clips on a Classic Rock magazine compilation DVD. I loved 'Never The Rainbow', with Josh's heavenly guitar and the crystalline angelic vocals of Heather Findlay. I had fallen in love instantly with their folk-rock peaceful up-beat brand of prog and knew eventually I would get hold of their albums. I had adored Findlay's stage presence and her soaring high octave vocal range on Ayreon's brilliant 'The Human Equation'. She played the stereotypical role of "Love" and was a highlight of the album everytime she appeared.

So a place to start for a new fan is a compilation and this seemed as good as any from the list. The first thing that springs to mind as the album launches into one classic after another is Pink Floyd meets Jethro Tull. I am not suggesting they are copying these eclectic artists but they have a feel, a style, and a symphonic ambience similar to these bands. It is a welcome relief that the songs are not focused on dark or disturbing themes, rather there is a decidedly upbeat positive atmosphere mainly instigated from the virtuoso lead guitar work, shimmering Hammond passages and those beautiful heartfelt vocals. The flute complements the wall of sound generated, and there is a relentless pounding bass. Every track has something new to offer and some are absolute masterpieces. I have not heard the entire albums the tracks are taken from but I was pleasantly surprised and count this as one of the best compilations I have heard. The remastering is excellent quality sound, as good as I have heard and there are extra bits added to enhance the tracks, so the liner notes claim, making it a worthwhile purchase for those who already have the albums the tracks are taken from.

Highlights? There are many. From the debut album "For All We Shared" there is "Nowhere to Hide", and "Heroes Never Die". "The Night Sky", and "The Last Climb". All are worthy of listening to and great to hear the early work of the band.

From the "Spirit Of Autumn Past" album the tracks improve and their second album is represented by "Please", "The Spirit of Autumn Past" and "Evergreen" which features on youtube as an institution in itself, so many live versions and all equally brilliant. The excellent "Winter Mountain" is here, and "The Gap Is Too Wide", which is absolutely essential listening.

"The Last Bright Light", their third album features seven tracks, therefore very much the most represented album on this compilation. The best tracks from this are "We Come And We Go", "Half the Mountain" and my favourite, "Shrinking Violet". "Never the Rainbow" is still one of the best I have heard from the band and as my official intro to the group will always be a sentimental favourite. I have to mention the lengthy sub epic "Mother Nature", a journey in time sig changes and mood swings.

Now for the weirdest tracks, namely the four from "Music Inspired by The Lord of the Rings". This a folk oriented sound unlike other tracks with the rock edge sawing across. "The Riders of Rohan" is a balladic Tolkien slice of melancholia, and is pleasant to the ear. "Goodbye Alone" is pastoral folk with Celtic influences focusing on Findlay's vocal prowess, and "Overture" is a typical beginning of an album, bombastic and promising on a grand scale. "The Return of the King" sounds like Pink Floyd again and is heavily enveloped by Celtic influences and symphonic sounds with injections of scorching guitar.

So overall a solid compilation featuring an excellent collection of MA thus far to the release date. Since this there have been many albums I have yet to discover, and if they are as good as the selections on this comp, the skies the limit for Mostly Autumn.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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