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Mostly Autumn - For All We Shared CD (album) cover

FOR ALL WE SHARED

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.51 | 94 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars The first climb

After reading many glowing reviews of the works of Mostly Autumn, I have tried many times to get into this band. So far I cannot say that I have achieved much success in that respect. For All We Shared was Mostly Autumn's first release and as such it is a bit premature. This band seems to have two principle influences: Pink Floyd and Folk Rock. The principle problem I have with this debut album is that they fail to fuse these two primary influences together into something new and interesting. The different styles of the band alternate instead of merging with each other most of the time. While this problem would remain on future releases of the band to some degree, they did improve in this respect already with their next album, the generally stronger The Spirit Of Autumn Past.

On the present album, the two sides of the band tolerate each other, and perhaps even attempt to respect each other, but they seldom manage to really cooperate. It is almost as if Mostly Autumn are two separate bands here making an album together; with Brian Josh leading a highly Pink Floyd-influenced band and Heather Finley a Folk Rock band like Steeleye Span of Fairport Convention. Indeed, with eight band members, they could well be two different bands. The two bands (or sides of the band) are not involved in a war with each other as such (which would perhaps be more interesting than this?), but the peace between them is often uncomfortable. Personally, I am much more fond of the Folk- side of the band than of the Pink Floyd-side. Pink Floyd has never been among my favourite bands to start with but I can certainly understand why they have achieved such high recognition in the world of music given that they had their own distinctive sound. A band that tries hard to - and succeeds in! - copying that sound, some 30 years after Floyd's prime is considerably less impressive. And that is often my impression of Mostly Autumn.

Several of the songs here are for me just too close to Pink Floyd to be considered as anything less than clones. The slow, lazy vocals of Brian Josh are strongly Pink Floyd-ish and his guitar sound is often frightfully similar to that of David Gilmour. But it doesn't end there, the feel of the songs, the tone of the music and particularly the melodies and the way to write songs and is also heavily reminiscent of Pink Floyd! This is just uncanny! The first four songs of the album are similar in style and contain little or nothing that would explain this band's categorization as Prog Folk. With Folklore, on the other hand, they suddenly jump to the other extreme and present an almost purely Folk-oriented dance number with hardly any Rock elements over and above the drums. While I generally do enjoy this type of music, I must say that many others do it so very much better than Mostly Autumn, at least compared to what they do here. Tunes like Folklore and Out Of The Inn are rather weak stabs at a genre that seem to lie far outside of Mostly Autumn's comfort zone (at least at this point in their career).

Even if I personally have a problem with the excessive Pink Floyd similarities of the album's first four songs, it soon becomes clear that this album is heavily frontloaded with almost all of the best songs coming at the beginning. Some of these early songs have since become live favourites for the band and are featured on many a live recording. Several of them were also re-recorded for the 2 CD best of compilation Catch The Spirit only a few years after the release of this original studio album. This means that the present album is not essential even for lovers of those tunes, but only for devoted fans and collectors.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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