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Mostly Autumn - The Last Bright Light CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.97 | 223 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This cd is, musically, about the same quality as the previous album, The Spirit Of Autumn Past. Both are good. However, where this one scores is vocally. The vocals have improved tremendously since the previous album. Bryan Josh, who can't sing by his own admission, now sounds half decent, and Heather Findley, who sounded quite nervous on the previous disc, has discovered new found power and depth to her voice, especially on the rockier numbers. The band employ their usual, effective gimmick at the start of the disc. You hear in the distance a few strains from the end of the previous album, the whole wrapped mysteriously in windy sound effects. This then fades out and the first, brief track '...Just Moving On' starts properly, with a Gilmour like introduction. Yes! At last Bryan Josh sounds like his hero, something I could hardly detect on their previous album. Here he plays like Gilmour does on the mellower side of his new solo album, On An Island. But the track is brief, as I said. Second song is 'We Come And We Go' This is a good song with nice instrumentation and laid back guitar accompanying it. Next is 'Half The Mountain', which is adorned with Bryan's atmospheric singing. Yes, he does a good job here on this quite slow song, and his guitar playing is well up to scratch. 'The Eyes Of The Forest' is sung by Heather,and very nicely too. It is another short effort, very folky, with good acoustic guitar and some very topical lyrics. My only complaint is it is too short. 'The Dark Before The Dawn' is more of a rock number when it comes to the chorus. It is a decent mid-paced song, but not my favourite on here. Not bad though. 'Hollow', on the other hand, is a highlight for me. Heather sings this one and it is very slow, catchy and memorable. A strong melody runs through it, and the instruments are well balanced, without any particular one dominating. Very good indeed. 'Prints In The Stone' is quite good too, and unusual because the middle eight of the song is sung by Liam Davison, who co-wrote the song. His voice is quiet, yet he reminded me strongly of someone and I couldn't, at first work out who. Then it came to me. Nick Barrett. Maybe not as strident or broad in the accent as Barrett, but he has a similar tone. If you don't like Barrett, (I do), don't let it put you off, nevertheless. The title track follows next. 'The Last Bright Light' is another mid-paced song, complete with pseudo-Gregorian chants filling out the chorus. Josh and Iain Jennings supply some of these. It is neither my favourite, nor my least favourite song here. Next, however, does come one of my faves. 'Never The Rainbow', sung by Heather Findley, is a tremendous rocker, and it indicates somewhat the direction they were to move in on the next album. A faster paced song, with wonderful guitar from Bryan, and superbly powerful singing from Heather, this is a memorable, catchy tune. If that wasn't enough, the next song is a Mostly Autumn classic. 'Shrinking Violet' is wonderful. A slow to mid paced song, sung beautifully by Heather, it has a wonderfully evocative lyric, about a shrinking violet ('natch!) who didn't used to be that way. The backing vocals are a dream here, and the end of this long track has superb guitar work from Bryan. A definite highlight. 'Helms Deep' is an instrumental. And another superb offering. It starts off quite folky, with an almost Irish feel to it, Angela Goldthorpe well to the fore here, before building up nicely. Believe it or not, but just past halfway, Iain Jennings turns the song in its head by playing the organ a la Tony Banks. This part sounds like something off vintage Genesis. And then the whole band chime in as the power builds, and Bryan's guitar almost has a touch of the Hacketts as it leads the song towards its end. A nice piano finishes the tune nicely. Excellent stuff! 'Which Wood?' is a shortish tune from Angela Goldthorpe, with the central theme being repeated over and over, each time slightly faster, and with more instruments added. Enjoyable. Finally, comes the finale! 'Mother Nature' is the 'epic' on the album, and is wonderful. The vocals at the beginning can give no indication what to expect later in the song. Half way through comes a blistering solo from Bryan, and the song builds wonderfully in power. But then, the ending comes in with some refined and gentle guitar work, somewhat in the vein of Gilmour again, until it finally fades out. A tremendous album. As I said at the start, I can't actually say that musically it is any better than the previous album (though I think may be a tad better), but vocally it is far, far stronger. Therefore I give it an extra star. After this they changed direction, became even stronger vocally, and produced an album that divided the fans, some not enjoying the heavier sound at all, but one I personally think may be their best: Passengers.
chessman | 4/5 |


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