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Mostly Autumn - Storms Over Still Water CD (album) cover

STORMS OVER STILL WATER

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.52 | 93 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Symphonic soundscapes and dreamlike, haunting beauty over still water

Mostly Autumn are a prog folk band that I really adore due to the close relation to the symphonic sound of Pink Floyd and especially the beautiful soaring vocals of Heather Findlay. "Storms Over Still water" is one of their best albums.

It begins with a bang with Josh Bryan's riffing heavy guitar on 'Out of the Green Sky'. Findlay's vocals are more aggressive than usual, she really belts this out. Wonderful opener.

'Broken Glass' is catchy and melodic with a killer chorus and very strong drum beat from Andrew Jennings. The keyboard motif on this from Ian Jennings is awesome and one of the best things about the song.

'Ghost in Dreamland' features Findlay's haunting vocal treatment. The harmonies are beautiful when she sings with Bryan. It is a fast tempo once again with passages of slowed down verses. The loud chorus is excellent; "Until we find our way back home, a ghost in dreamland all alone, turn up the radio, spinning and spinning and spinning alone". It ends abruptly. There is no nonsense from the band on this album, straight in, deliver killer melodies and get out.

'Heart Life' is as quiet as the band get, similar to their classic 'Evergreen'. Findlay's dreamlike vocals are sensual and compelling. I could listen to her all day. The chorus is louder and infectious; "it's a heart life when day time lovers fought for lovers of the night, it's a heart life when night time dwellers fall for lovers of the light".

'The End of the World' is Findlay at her best, the high octave range is mesmirising. The acoustic picking is well executed, as the lyrics are sung; "and how he loves this mellow Sunday lunch, oh how he still inspires her teenage blush." Later Bryan sings the chorus like David Gilmour again. I like the tradeoff between them. This is one of the proggiest too with a strange time signature. A highlight of the album.

'Black Rain' is heavy prog with a grinding guitar riff, and very nice Hammond organ sound. Findlay is enticing; "Standing on the edge of a blue green volcano..." This is one of my favourite MA tracks. The heavy organ and guitar continue the riff throughout. There is an awesome lead guitar break to savour, Bryan really takes off on this with hammering and speed picking.

'Coming to...' is a strange atmospheric instrumental with echo effects and off kilter drumming style. A droning synthesizer and creepy piano add to the ethereal tone. At 1 minute in a heavy guitar riff crashes in keeping a driving rhythm. The keyboards sound symphonic on this and it ends abruptly.

'Candle to the Sky' sounds like Gilmour again, more so than usual, even reminiscent of the style of "Dark Side of the Moon". Bryan does a good job on vocals and the guitars are gentle and lulling. The huge chorus is a keyboard crunching pad with a nice little riff. The tempo quickens and takes some detours in the instrumental section which is dominated by organ but the flute by Angela Gordon Goldthorpe solo is great. The ambience at the end of the track is sweet to the ears.

'Carpe Diem' features Troy Donockley on ullian pipes and low whistle. It begins with wind howling noises and the ullian pipes, creating a melancholy lonely sound. Findlay's vocals are quiet and beautifully executed. The lyrics are interesting; "out in the twilight beneath the full moon, far from the snowfall lay tempest gloom, raging the ocean cuttle like steel, caught in the crossfire of mother nature's wheel". It is serene and calming and yet haunting. The lyrics are the feature of this; "Deafening silence fills the room, out of the darkness a candle gloom, reading a prophecy for all to hear, these days are a privilege they must be sealed." The guitars on this enhance the chilling piano chords. A very gloomy dark song but so well sung by Findlay, it's wonderous.

'Storms over Still Water' is another excellent track beginning with wind howls and a hypnotic acoustic guitar riff. The guitars violin as a keyboard pad sounds off. "Take my hand and put your arms around me... " Findlay cries out from the depths. The album's atmosphere has changed and there is a much darker ambient atmosphere. The lead guitar is uplifting though and absolutely brilliant. It finishes bookended with guitar swells and echoes. Excellent track.

'Tomorrow' begins with solo pounding drum rhythms, then a heavy guitar crashes in, the keyboards shimmer loudly over, the melody is similar to the previous track. This instrumental is like a reprise of this in fact. I could not ever discern that much of a difference, so this song is the finale, an extension of the other track, even including pieces of other tracks and melodies.

Overall this is one of Mostly Autumns best studio albums. I don't think there's a weak song on the album and some of these tracks are absolutely brilliant. I would recommend this to Pink Floyd fans and anyone who likes a heavy keyboard sound in their prog with lashings of lead guitar solos and beautiful female vocals. A great place to start to get into this band.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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