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Mostly Autumn - The Ghost Moon Orchestra CD (album) cover

THE GHOST MOON ORCHESTRA

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.73 | 75 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Mostly Autumn have released an excellent album with "Ghost Moon Orchestra" that features all that have made the band popular over the years; Celtic influences, folk lyrics, spacey atmospherics and heavy guitar riffs. The album features the inimitable sweet vocals of Olivia Sparnenn and Bryan Josh's guitars augmented by the keyboard finesse of Iain Jennings.

From the outset the atmosphere is ethereal, beginning with ambient pads on 'Unquiet Tears'. The guitars are heavy at times such as on 'Drops of the Sun'. The lyrics are often whimsical and even jaded with nursery rhyme motifs, on 'Unquiet Tears' we hear "Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder who you are, Dying burns in the sky, Hush little baby, don't say a word, The orchestra is here, run!" The mood is portentous and rather dark with such lyrics merging with some epic melodies. The band play around with lyrics about the devil on tracks such as 'The Devil And The Orchestra', where Bryan Josh gets a chance to sing with his raspy technique.

The drawcard for me is always the angelic voice of Olivia and she shines on tracks such as 'The Ghost Moon Orchestra'. The lyrics are intriguing; "Don't go down to the woods today, you really have no choice, the orchestra demands your presence, strictly on your own, stand to your potential is the death to your soul, I hope you've been good, boys and girls". This 7 minute song is a feast featuring beautiful melodic sweeps on keys and an incredible lead guitar solo at the end; a dynamic sound and definitely a progressive highlight of the album.

There are acoustic driven songs such as 'This Ragged Heart', written and sung by Bryan Josh, and featuring lovely flute passages by Anne-Marie Helder, and low whistle by Troy Donockley. The lyrics are potent; "Sat alone on all these lands, there'll be plays on the hill, there'll be laughter in the halls, and I know it's all because of her, I open my eyes to love, say it's a lie, so a lie, and I dreamed of birds in the saving sky, and they showed me the way and I followed away, follow today".

'King Of The Valley' juxtaposes the acoustics and provides the rock with some energetic guitar riffs and staccato keyboard hammering. The time sig changes on this track are wonderful, the way that the vocals trade off alternating between Olivia and Bryan. There is an odd tempo in the instrumental break and very powerful shimmering organ with a vintage Hammond sound. Again this is a highlight of the album, structured with innovation and compelling melodies.

'Things That We Notice' brings the mood down with a heartfelt ballad from the beautiful tones of Olivia. I love the lyrics that have an endearing theme; "I still believe when your love was not part of the song, they carry on, inside the shimmering perfume of yesterday song, they carry on." Then the verse moves into thoughts of broken dreams and loss; "Families break up, the moment is gone, dreams that have fallen, letters from angels, answers the world will not come, and they're gone and they fall like that, they fall down the street".

'Tennyson Mansion' opens with a twanging guitar and piercing key pad. It builds with a pounding rhythm, then Olivia brings in a new nursery rhyme idea about Humpty Dumpty, cementing the idea that these are childhood memories that are focussed on, broken dreams of childhood innocence. It builds to a massive lead break with shrieking string bends and howling sustain; awesome guitar skilfully played by Bryan.

'Wild Eyed Skies' opens with the haunting Uilleann pipes of Donockley, and measured vocals from Olivia, gently at first and then more forceful in the chorus. The lyrics are repeated and given a passionate delivery; "When you run on your own, but you wanna go home, then you run on your own, but there's nobody home, every season we're knocking, there's no other soul, I will channel the dark, onto the past". I love the melody and the wonderful vocals are so uplifting, along with soaring lead guitar.

'Top Of The World' begins with minimalist piano tinkling, and a duet from Olivia and Bryan, breathily delivering a rather positive message. It is rather a sweet little song to close the album, continuing the fairytale vibe of the sound. The piece leads to an extended piano melody and strings, enhanced by soulful violining guitar reverberating beautifully.

Overall, "Ghost Moon Orchestra" is a quality production with enough beauty and rock to appease the fanbase. There are some definitive highlights and it is consistent throughout maintaining a compelling theme and accomplished musicianship. It is yet another excellent album from a band that is slowly becoming respected in the prog community.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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