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Mostly Autumn - Glass Shadows CD (album) cover

GLASS SHADOWS

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

3.41 | 84 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Mostly Autumn's "Glass Shadows" is a very gentle album overall with some of the more heartfelt melancholy songs that the band composed over their long tenure. The band were Bryan Josh on lead vocals, lead guitar, rhythm, and acoustics, along with piano, keyboards, and Hammond. Heather Findlay takes many of the songs as lead vocalist, and ocassionally piano, bodhran, tambourine and hand percussion. Olivia Sparnenn is wonderful on harmonised vocals, though she was to become lead vocalist on Findlay's departure. Anne- Marie Helder is excellent on harmony vocals, and flute.

The album opens with 'Fireside' driven by a vibrant riff and some great rocking rhythms throughout. The riff locks in and is one of the best heard from Josh who takes lead vocals. 'The Second Hand' has a slower measured cadence with a folk tinge, as with classic Mostly Autumn (MA) tracks. On 'Flowers For Guns' Findlay takes the lead vocals in this steady paced song. The flute is a beautiful embellishment and it is nice to hear Findlay, one of her last albums with the group before embarking on a patchy solo career. 'Unoriginal Sin' is Findlay's beautiful vocals over a truncated piano motif that repeats with simple notes. It is joined by acoustics and a steady rhythm. It has Pink Floyd resonances especially when the lead guitars chime in. Josh is terrific as usual but I really like the keyboard ambience on this one. 'Paper Angels' is a folk ballad by Findlay, making it 3 in a row where she dominates, not a bad thing and of course Olivia Sparnenn would take over as lead vocalist in a few years so here we can savour those crystal tones of Findlay's gorgeous timbre. The sadness of the song is enhanced by sparse piano arrangements and it builds to an emotional lead guitar that lifts it up; a beautiful song is the result. 'Tearing At The Faerytale' is the return of Josh's vocals, for welcome variation and the beat is measured and still maintains the melancholy, making this a quieter album from the group thus far. This track is often played live. 'Above The Blue' is a very pretty tune with Findlay in her most contemplative mood. The melancholy atmosphere is augmented with keyboard strings and lovely piano, and finally dreamy flute. This is one song that entrances with sleepy cadence and angelic vocals.

'Glass Shadows' is a definitive highlight with variations in tempo and time sig, and it builds from quiet reflection to a majestic wall of sound. It has a darker atmosphere too and is more forceful vocally from Josh. It even leads, after a crashing crescendo, to some flute passages; a masterful composition. 'Until The Story Ends' returns to folk influences, where Josh and Findlay harmonise well. The acoustic treatment is sparse at first, and it climbs up to spacey lead guitar swells, and Troy Donockley's Uilleann pipes. This instrumentation returns on the upcoming "Go Well Diamond Heart". The album ends on 'A Different Sky', that is upbeat and has a more commercial feel. Findlay and Josh sing together again, the last time they would be heard in the studio. It is a positive song with some potent lyrics about changes "out on the road under a different sky, don't go pushing the sunset down, remember this place just the two of us, cos you're so far away."

As a farewell album to long time member Heather Findlay "Glass Shadows" ironically has a tinge of profound sadness, but it is great to hear Findlay one last time recording with the band. Olivia Sparnenn would make a worthy successor on upcoming Mostly Autumn projects so all was not lost, but it was a brave move for Findlay to move into a solo career. Overall this 2008 album features some very nice material, though it does not have as many highlights as "Passengers" or some of the early albums; 3 stars is a fair rating for this release.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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