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Mostly Autumn - The Story So Far CD (album) cover

THE STORY SO FAR

Mostly Autumn

Prog Folk


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5 stars I was extraordinarily lucky, that for less the price you can normally get the CD, I got the CD/DVD combo. They are the same except that there are a few additional songs on the DVD. This is a fabulous compilation of the best of MOSTLY AUTUMN. All their masterpieces are on this except for The Gap is Too Wide. There is not a weak song on the CD. Heroes Never Die and Mother Nature are jsut incredible songs. Evergreen, The Spirit of Autmn Past, The Night Sky, The Dark Before the Dawn and Shrinking Violet are not very far behind. Bryan Josh may be the best little know guitarists out there. He is also a great songwriter, and a pretty good vocalist. He may not have the best voice of male singers, but he really conveys the emotion in songs. Many of the numbers are sung by Heather Findlay, who does have a beautiful voice. Ian Jennings does some excellent keyboard work, and Angela Goldthorpe's flute add the atmosphere and color that fully rounds out the music. This is a great compilation. If you like your prog, with a little classic rock, folk and celtic influences, there is no better band out there than Mostly Autumn.

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Send comments to rjeffreyr (BETA) | Report this review (#24316)
Posted Friday, November 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars (3,5 *) Had this already in May, but after the first listenings (when their debut had just hit me strongly) I felt so disappointed that only yesterday I finally came to think it's not so bad for a live album. The opinions whether Mostly Autumn have improved or gone worse are divided. Judging by this lesser evidence I'd say: worse. Probably the folkish touch has decreased and nearly vanished, and of the 6 newer songs here only a couple can compete with debut's highlights. One I hate for lingering so easily in mind with its stupid chorus: 'Never The Rainbow'. Disastrous song that not even a teenager rock band could be proud of. Unfortunately it's not the only track where the boring flat drumming waters things down. And, yes, the word 'waters' reminds me of another fault to this band. The composer-guitarist-singer Bryan Josh is such a poor man's David Gilmour (and lacking his Waters counterpart). His Pink Floyd mocking is often all too obvious, and already by letting Heather sing more by herself he'd be much wiser.

But there are fine songs enough here for 3 stars. One half extra for letting flutist Angela Goldthorpe participate quite a lot. I just miss the violin. But in a concert hardly any band that hasn't REALLY broke thru can be as eclectic and delicate as in studio albums. M.A. started very promisingly, but seems to lack some originality in song-writing to ever become a truly important prog band.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#42929)
Posted Monday, August 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I have mentioned during my review of MA three studio albums, that I appreciate very much some of their numbers while some others were more fillers than anything else. At times rather dull and inexpressive to me.

This live album will actually feature most of their very good songs, and I can not be more happy with this. I believe MA works perfectly on stage. I missed one of their concert last year (I went to the concert hall a day ahead and did not want to go back because of the distance) ! I really felt sorry about that because having seen the corresponding DVD "The Story So Far" I realized that I preferred this band much more live than in studio.

Most of the songs sounds much more dynamic. The first two ones are just gorgeous. They were already the two opening numbers of their debut album. Their rendition here, is just incredible. Such beautiful and strong vocal harmonies. Even more powerful than the studio release. Just perfect, really. The addition of three backing vocalists is of course of great value for this live set.

There will be another two songs from "For All we Shared". The best one IMO is the Floydian "Heroes Never Die". Slightly longer here, its crescendo structure is truely magnificent. I just love it ! The highlight from this song, besides the fantastic and very C,S & N (Crosby, Stills & Nash) oriented vocals, is the sublime guitar solo. One of the many highlights of this live album.

The fourth one is : "The Night Sky". It is shortened by two minutes in comparison with the original version. But since its melancholic mood was a bit too monotonous to my taste, I can't complain. On the contrary, it sounds better in this format. Again, a wonderful and Gilmouresque guitar solo will punctuate the finale rather successfully.

Two songs from " The Spirit Of Autumn Past" of which the title track. Again, it was one of my preferred song from this work. This version is a bit rockier than the studio one. It is also a great track; a pleasure for the ears. It combines some beautiful and short spacey vocals. Another great song. But so far, there is nothing than great songs featured.

"Evergreen" is again a classic MA song. Languorous vocals from Heather combined with a very nice guitar solo. The finale being rather rocky and powerful.

Four numbers from their last album will complete this live recording. My preferred track "The Dark Before The Dawn" is present here as well (I am very lucky with the track selection). Nothing else to say : it remains brilliant while playing live.

"Shrinking Violet" is another fine song in which Heather excells in her vocal performance. It is not only a pleasure for the ears. When you look at their DVD, you realize that it is as well a pleasure for the eyes. She's so beautiful... Lucky Fish ! (yes, Fish, the singer). I have just read that he was going to marry her in August. Congratulations to both of them.

"Never The Rainbow" is one of their harder track even in the studio. Not to mention how it sounds here. Incredibly rhythmy. It rocks like hell. The fabulous keys sounding again like Jon Lord as I mentioned already in my review of the original track. Exceptional.

The long "Mother Nature" will be on par, even if it is a bit too melancholical and mellow during the first part. But the long and epic intrumental finale is so great that one even does not remember this detail.

This is a fantastic Mostly Autumn "Best Of". I recomend it to anyone who would like to investigate about the band. It is a cheap entry since this one holds almost all the highlights of their first three albums and none of their weaker tracks.

Actually, it is a perfect album. The sound is great, the musicianship very good, the track selection fabulous.

This album will please MA fans of course. But most of all, I believe that casual fans (as I am) can only be delighted with the music produced here.

Five stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#120884)
Posted Sunday, May 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As much as I admire this band, I also thought that most of their studio albums were not all that good. With the possibly exception of tjheir third, The Last Bright Light (a real fine CD), they never managed to write enough convincing stuff to fill up their Albums (always too long). However, there was some interesting tunes on all of them and I was wondering how they´d sound live. Would they make a good setlist containing their best? So I took my chances with The Story So far, their very first. And I was not disappointed.

Most of the songs here wound slightly better then their studio counterparts. And the selection is simply excellent, including their best two compositions ever: the epics Mother Nature and Heroes Never Die. But there is more, like the very strong renditions of The Spirit Of Autumn Past and Shriking Violet. The powerful, blistering version of Never The Rainbow (MA´s most rocking number so far) is another highlight among many.

Not that is perfect. In fact, the first two numbers are not well mixed, and gave me a wrong impression when I first heard this CD. The drums, for instance, are way too loud for their kind of music. But all of the sudden, from the third track onwards, everything works. Bryan Josh´s lead guitar soars beautifully all through the record (echoes of Pink Floyd´s David Gilmour guitar style of course, but beautiful anyway). The band is in tight and the blending voices of Josh and Heather Findley are gorgeous, out of the european folk tradition of male and female singing.

My copy came with a bonus CD of live songs but none is from the same period. It´s really more a compilation of tracks taken from other live albums done after this one like Live At The Canterbury´s Fayre and Pink Floyd Revisted, including a convincing 17 minute version of PF´s Echoes. It´s nice, but nothing´s new. It´d would be far more interesting if some unissue material was included.

Conclusion: an excellent live record that shows the band on their ideal enviroment. The tracklist is very good and the playing superb. If you are a fan of Mostly Autumn then this is a must have. if you´re mew to the group, well, just listen to this CD and give them a chance.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#281107)
Posted Sunday, May 09, 2010 | Review Permalink

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