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THE LAST BRIGHT LIGHT

Mostly Autumn

Prog Folk


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Mostly Autumn The Last Bright Light  album cover
4.01 | 166 ratings | 30 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. ... Just Moving On (1:30)
2. We Come And We Go (4:36)
3. Half The Mountain (5:22)
4. The Eyes Of The Forest (2:53)
5. The Dark Before The Dawn (5:10)
6. Hollow (6:08)
7. Prints In The Stone (3:27)
8. The Last Bright Light (8:14)
9. Never The Rainbow (3:48)
10. Shrinking Violet (8:34)
11. Helms Deep (6:45)
12. Which Wood? (2:45)
13. Mother Nature (12:09)

Total Time: 71:21

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Bryan Josh / electric guitar, vocals, 6-string, 12-string acoustic, gregorian vocals on 8
- Heather Findlay / vocals, bodhran, tamborine and bells
- Iain Jennings / keyboards, backing vocals, gregorian vocals on 8
- Liam Davison / electric slide guitar, vocals on 7 and 8, 6-string+12 string acoustic
- Andy Smith / bass
- Jonathan Blackmore / drums
- Angela Goldthorpe / flute, recorders, background vocals on 10

GUESTS:
- Troy Donockley / low whistles on 7 and 10
- Marissa Claughan / cello on 4, 6 and 10
- Albert Dannenmann / rauschpfeife, krumhorn, renaissance recorders, solo sopranino, hummelchen and gaita

Releases information

CD Cyclops CYCL100 (2001)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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For All We SharedFor All We Shared
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Classic Rock Legends 2005
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Last Bright LightLast Bright Light
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Cyclops Records 2005
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Pass the ClockPass the Clock
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Dressed in VoicesDressed in Voices
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Ghost Moon OrchestraGhost Moon Orchestra
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Autumn 2007
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MOSTLY AUTUMN The Last Bright Light ratings distribution


4.01
(166 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
35%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

MOSTLY AUTUMN The Last Bright Light reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tony Fisher
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I did not think that Mostly Autumn could ever top The Spirit Of Autumn Past, but they may have done so with this album. It's hard to define their style: they have smatterings of Renaissance or Capercaillie in the beautiful female vocals and folky style, the guitar solos and keyboards can sound like Floyd or Marillion and they use flute like Camel, Tull or early Genesis. Many of their songs have a slightly otherworldly feel about them as if they were inspired by Lord of the Rings. This album introduces a new rhythm section with Andy Smith on bass and Jonathan Blackmore on drums; talented musicians who play their part in full.

They kick off with a short reprise of the pipes at the end of The Gap Is Too Wide from the previous album called Just Moving On, then go into we Come And We Go, a gentle slow song with some fine guitar and a theme of human mortality, sung by Bryan Josh in his rather lazy, deep voice. Birdsong leads into Half The Mountain, another truly beautiful Josh song about loss (the death of his father?) culminating in a short but delightful guitar solo. Eyes Of The Forest introduces the voice of Heather Findlay, the finest female vocalist in prog. The song is a gentle song about environmental destruction, beautifully backed by acoustic guitar, flute and cello.

Then it's full tilt into concert favourite The Dark Before The Dawn, with Angela Goldthorpe's flute and Iain Jennings keyboards driving Josh's vocals along until a brilliant guitar solo takes over. Hollow is another slow haunting song, reminiscent of Evergreen on the last album, and sung equally well by Heather Findlay with Jennings providing some masterful keyboards.

Prints In The Stone is folky, featuring some lovely low whistle and vocals by Liam Davison, then into the title track, which after a folky start changes into a full blown 8 minute epic with fine keyboards and a guitar solo of epic proportions. Never The Rainbow lets Heather Findlay really let rip and has a sing along chorus and majestic keyboards, ending in another lightning guitar solo. Shrinking Violet is another exquisitely beautiful Findlay song about loneliness and the fear of taking chances and the vocal harmonies are perfection.

Helms Deep is a fast folky instrumental, at first full of acoustic guitars, flute and recorders but then introducing a Hammond solo of Emersonian proportions along with battle noises and pipes before a final guitar solo. Which Wood? is a classical sounding Goldthorpe piece with flute and acoustic guitar backed with bodhran and harpsichord. Mother Nature is a complex 12 minute Josh epic which is mostly slow but has an exciting fast section with thunder and some fine keyboards and a gentle but melodic guitar solo at the end.

This album has quickly (I've had it just 3 weeks and it's not been off my CD player) joined a very small but select band (Argus, The Snow Goose, The Tain) with which I can find no fault, no way of improving it. 5* is not adequate for such a work of genius but will have to suffice. An utterly essential masterpiece and the best album recorded since 1975.

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Send comments to Tony Fisher (BETA) | Report this review (#61290) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2005

Review by chessman
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.

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Send comments to chessman (BETA) | Report this review (#82586) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It doesn't seem like such a stretch that this band did a PINK FLOYD cover album after listening to this record. Bryan Josh not only has vocals that remind me of David Gilmour, but his guitar playing as well hints greatly at his PINK FLOYD guitarist hero.

"...Just Moving On" features those Uillean Pipes with the wind blowing from the previous album. Piano and laid back guitar ends it. "We Come And We Go" has Bryan singing, and playing some tasteful guitar. The mellow and fuller sections are contrasted throughout. A pretty good tune. "Half The Mountain" has a definite PINK FLOYD flavour to the vocals circa "Momentary Lapse Of Reason". Some beautiful flute (Troy Donokley), piano and guitar.This has a really lush sound to it. "The Eyes Of The Forest" is mellow with Heather singing. Piano, flute and violin help out. "The Dark Before The Dawn" opens with synths, and I must admit this doesn't sound like what the band usually composes. "Hollow" opens with light keys as Heather come in with reserved vocals. At 4 minutes in the guitar becomes more aggressive, it's great ! "Prints In The Stone" is a Celtic tune with flute, acoustic guitar and Bryan's gentle vocals.

"The Last Bright Light" has Bryan singing like Gilmour again in this slow paced tune with acoustic guitar. The song does pick up a bit then slows down again.There are some Gregorian chants on this one too. "Never The Rainbow" features Heather singing in this uptempo tune with organ and more great guitar. "Shrinking Violet" is a classic MOSTLY AUTUMN song with Heather singing with light drums and soaring guitar on this mellow song. Troy adds some flute too. "Helms Deep" has a good flute melody in this Celtic jig. "Which Wood ?" is an instrumental with lots of flute and acoustic guitar. "Mother Nature" is another great song. With dual vocals, piano and a beautiful chorus.There are some gentle as well as scorching guitar on this epic as well. Awesome song, great way to end the album.

I must admit i'm not big on their style overall but they sure have their moments. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#101363) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 02, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Just imagine if 80's Pink Floyd melded with 90's Pendragon and added a smidgen of celtic folk fronted at times with a female singer....whew! That's a mouthful huh? I was lucky enough to find this album new yet budget priced at a Princeton record store. I only have their first album and wasn't too impressed. This one however is another story. I enjoy Josh's Gilmour-flavored guitar work a bit more then his Gilmour-flavored vocals which covers most of this album. He doesn't ape or steal melodies from Gilmour but you can hear his influence. Heather Findlay's voice is very good, not earth shatteringly beautiful ala Annie Haslam and the like but flows well with the rather laid back prog on this disc which pretty much sums up this album and band for the most part. Their music is a sort of Neo/symphonic prog with a small bit of Celtic folk. No space rockish Floyd, no bombastic Neoish Pendragon, yet there is a rather close tie with the two bands. The second half of the album picks up the pace with some upbeat tempos and riffing guitar here and there. It's not complex nor heady stuff, more atmospheric and wordy. They do jam some with Josh's guitar overshadowing Jennings's keyboard work. Overall tho, I took a liking to the disc the more I listened to it and there are many melodies that stick around in my head days after. For me it's a true 3.5 (very good) instead of a 3 (good). Seeing as it seems to be their most respected album, and I can see how they probably couldn't improve things from here on, it deserves more than 3....so.....4 it is!

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#107063) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Review by Kotro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Low on jigs; less spacey; more Mostly Autumn

Let's make this review a point-early text. The conclusion to be reached here is that Mostly Autumn's The Last Bright Light is one of our favourite albums ever. Now, let's struggle to explain why in few words.

Vocals are one of the most interesting aspects of MA's music. Josh, on his acknowledgement, sucks. But what he lacks in technique he conveys in emotion. He also is fortunate enough to have the company of Heather Findlay in the lead vocals, and to a lesser extent, Liam Davidson's. The switch between male and female vocal is one of the greatest assets of MA, and in TLBL they reached their peak: Josh is not only singing better than on previous albums, but he also gives more space to Heather.

Musically, this album is a notch over their previous attempts and miles away from what was to follow. Despite the presence of keyboard driven melodies and an array of traditional instrumentation, the space-celtic-folk ambience is less present and the album gladly welcomes a heavier rock input, with some amazing electric guitar work. The title of this review intends to express exactly that: MA have left their influences in the background and went for something more original. They found their own sound. And I found what is, so far, the album of the millennium.

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Send comments to Kotro (BETA) | Report this review (#120496) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars When I saw the very high rates for this album (I mostly do not read review before posting mine, only look at the ratings to see the tendancy) I thought : finally the one I was expecting. Because their first two efforts did not really convinced me.

On this album, there are of course several great songs that I would easily referenced as ones of their all-time best. "We Come And We Go" is one of them. A so typical MA song. Extremely catchy melody and vocal harmonies reaching perfection. This is why I like MA. They deliver sometimes true jewels. But they are too much widespread in their works IMO.

This album goes on very promisingly "Half The Mountain". Beautiful intrumental passage and again, brilliant and powerful vocal part. MA sounds really great while producing such beautiful songs. Somewhat poppy of course but as I have already outlined for their secod album the combination of these harmonies and the grandeur of some musical sections make this band different. The guitar finale is somptous. A highlight. No doubt.

There will be some pastoral tracks like "The Eyes Of The Forest" (which is normal with such a title). Very sweet numbers with a wonderful part from Heather.

We go back to a harder side of MA with "The Dark Before The Dawn". Again, this one has an incredible chorus and a great flute playing in the background. I like this song an awful lot. It flows so nicely that one is surprised when it ends. Those 5'10" seem so short... This is a very powerful track with a good rhythm and a fantastic band as a whole. Superb.

"Hollow" is a good contrast. Quiet piece of music building on crescendo. The background keys are supporting Heather in a great manner. Rather spacey. A great guitar break will add some strenght to this other very good number. So far, this album is by far their best one.

"Prints In The Stone" is a very sweet and nice little song, but it will start a serie of monotonous tracks which was already a weak point of their previous records. These songs lower the level of their albums and make them sound a bit flat at times. I must admit though that on this effort there will be no real blunder, just a few average tracks.

I will have partially the same feeling with the title track. I say partially because there are interesting moments in this longer number. The guitar break especially is beautiful. But this is a true strong point MA. Again, it would have gained in interest if shortened by two to three minutes though.

"Never The Rainbow" is a almost a hard-rock track. Brilliant again. Iain Jennings pumping sounds out of his organ as Jon Lord would have done. Really. I am not saying that this track sounds like a Deep Purple one of course, but the similarity in the organ play is rather interesting. The fantastic guitar solo ends this very wild piece of music. Definitely one of my fave here.

It contrats completely with the following number : "Shrinking Violet". The second long number (over eight minutes) is all subtlety. Acoustic and mellow for most of it, the song will kick off at half-time and turn to be a very pleasant one.

"Helms Deep" is a true folk song. Celtic influence as we have also heard a few on their previous efforts. I am not really keen on such songs. The finale is rather rocking and saves this track. Unfortunately, "Which Wood" the next one, is pure folkish as well (no wonder again, with such a title) and we won't have anything to save it. The weakest number of the story so far.

When looking at the lenght of "Mother Nature" one can think, hey ! There is something to do here. Well, it is true that the introductory and mellowish part lasting for about 3'30" will lead into a more catchy section with a great guitar break. Great part really during 2'30". We'll get back to a pure symphonic prog part after a dull and useless section (only 1'30" fortunately). Very aerial and Floydian. So, I have some mixed feeling about this number. Still the good parts top the average ones. It provides a good overview of MA's work in general. We'll even get some psyche moments during the finale.

This album is a very long one (over seventy minutes). I would have far much prefer a standard one in lenght (let's say fifty-five minutes) to keep the level very high. It is true that the band was very prolific in their early days (maybe too prolific).

But as for some other albums from the band, most of the great numbers are listed in the begining of the album while the remaining part is less interesting. IMO, it will also be the case with this one. Some great guitar breaks as I have outlined are definitely raising their music to a higher level.

I had upgraded their previous album to three stars (from a five out of ten rating). I will rate this one three stars as well but downgrading it from a seven out of ten scale because I really can not offer MA a fourth star here. But to be honest, I have to admit that prog-folk is not my favorite genre. Still, I believe that MA perfectly illustrates what prog-folk is all about.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#120743) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, May 04, 2007

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The high water mark for Mostly Autumn, "The Last Bright Light" represents the point at which they most successfully integrated the Floydian atmospherics with their celtic leanings, to produce something resembling a unique vision. Up until this point, most songs would either heavily lean in one direction or another, which resulted in quaint but aimless contrasts, and after this album, the group virtually abandoned the folky elements in favour of a sort of cottage industry of re-releases and anthologies that would make bands thirty years their senior blush.

The album starts with a few decent tracks, but nothing earth shattering. It roars to life with perhaps the best shorter piece of their career, "The Dark Before the Dawn". This is simply a brilliantly constructed work of emotional intensity, featuring flute in the most unlikely places, desperate vocals, including a perfectly timed scream, and guitars by Josh and a hook that will grab you for hours. Luckily, the quality does not diminish with the next more subdued song, "Hollow", this time sung by Findlay and wedding the two disparate styles of the band as well as anything they have done. The electric piano/acoustic guitar combination in the break is inspired. Two more gems follow, the overtly celtic "Prints in the Stone" and the emotive and explosive title cut, which is the most Floydian sounding to this point, but like Floyd with a needed dose of endorphins and a greater sense of melody. None of these are simply good songs, but instead works of awe, in different ways that keep the listener from ever drifting.

"Never the Rainbow" is a weaker, almost standard rock track with the exception of some decent organ. But then we have another major epic highlight, "Shrinking Violet". gently sung by Findlay to a timeless tune before the more dramatic instrumental flourishes that feature breathtaking dualling lead guitars and wordless feminine vox. "Which Wood" is a pagan-ish prelude to the 12 minute finale, "Mother Nature". This begins very Genesis like, almost like "Ripples", but builds in a different direction as it pronounces how our Earth Mother must feel about the havoc wreaked by mankind. It's not quite the closing that is "The Gap is Wide" from the previous album but close enough. Josh's guitar near the end is far more bluesy than his typical solos, and the notes are all much less diffuse, a refreshing change.

"The Last Bright Light" is held back from a 5 star rating by its unspectacular first few songs, which could have been left off and still resulted in a recording of sufficient length. Sometimes less is more, but this is still a wondrous work, and the one recommended for newcomers to the band.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#130321) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Vocals are a very touchy aspect of music. One might even say it's the most touchy. I would really appreciate it if vocals would keep to themselves a little bit; I don't like to be touched often.

Mostly Autumn are a talented group who play Pink Floyd folk. The sound and atmospheres are all very good, and they also have Heather Findlay on board as a vocalist. I, like many, discovered Mostly Autumn through hearing Heather's gorgeous gift on The Human Equation and after hearing some samples of Mostly Autumn's songs, I felt compelled to check this album out (as it is widely regarded as their best). When I heard the samples, I noticed that there was a male vocalist present as well, but given his great inferiority to Heather's angelic voice, I figured she would be the focal point of the sung parts of the disc. I was wrong. Male vocalist Bryan Josh who admittedly can not sing is actually the dominant vocalist on this record. While he produces discernable melodies with considerable emotion, more often than not he detracts from the generally good music.

But the music has its faults too. The disc is much too long. Since the styles aren't that varied and as it doesn't have much of a direction as a whole there is no way it can be enjoyed for its full 71 minutes. Unfortunately, when they do stray from their downtempo, atmospheric sound they aren't always successful as seen in the uptempo rocker "Never the Rainbow," which doesn't seem like a proper application of Heather's voice and it's not even that catchy. However, two songs later they break into a peppy folk instrumental, "Helm's Deep," that works very well and is thoroughly enjoyable for its duration. It's followed by another instrumental which is a bit shorter and also enjoyable. I'm a bit perplexed at the group's decision to have two consecutive instrumentals. It may have been beneficial to place "Which Wood?" earlier in the disc to break up the meter montony of the first half.

The band shines on the numbers where Heather dominates the vocal parts and the compositions are dynamic. The highlights are the stunning and beautiful tracks "Hollow" & "Shrinking Violet" (both of which start soft and build to climaxes with Heather leading the way), the aforementioned instrumental "Helm's Deep" and the magnificent 12-minute closer "Mother Nature," one of few tracks where Bryan's presence doesn't hinder the listener's enjoyment of the song.

It's a shame that the band hasn't delegated the vocal parts properly, or written songs to better cater their greatest strength (not to belittle the musicians). In general, the music is good or better - it's atmospheric, melodic, and often powerful - but it's just so tough to sit through the whole album for the two reasons which I have explained above. Everyone should try this band out, because certainly some people are going to be able to enjoy or look past my negative points and there is quite a bit to like beyond them.

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Send comments to Moatilliatta (BETA) | Report this review (#171853) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars First of all I must say I´m not really a fan of the band. Their mix of Pink Floyd with celtic folk is interesting, but I also think they never really matured as songwriters that much. Of course they are good to excellent musicians and their sound has its charm. I really like Bryan Josh´s guitar playing and Heather Findley´s voice. Every Mostly Autumn CD has some fine compositions, but nothing that really thrilled me much as long as albums are concerned. The Last Bright Light is an exception, though.

This is the only album by this band that I hear from start to finish with pleasure. There are some fine stuff here and at least one great epic (Mother Nature). although the Cd is quite long, there is far less fillers here than on other Moslty Autumn´s releases. The songwriting is not very outstanding, but it is good anyway and I´m glad I have this CD in my collection. Maybe I should hear their other works more often, but up to now they didn´t move like this one (which, by the way was the first I had). Production is ok, but not exceptional. The cover art is beautiful.

Although I still think this band never really reached their full potential so far, The Last Bright Light gives a good glimpse of how good they can be when they are at their most inspired.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#187516) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008

Review by lazland
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is the album that marked the progress of a band from an underground, cult outfit (i.e. one that not many people had heard of) to one noticed very much by the rock press and playing to substantially larger venues. It is also the album that convinced me that they would be at the vanguard of the new wave of progressive bands emerging in the UK and wider afield.

Bryan Josh is by his own admission, not the most tuneful of vocalists. However, what he lacks in formal training he makes up for in raw emotion and passion, and readers should also definitely check out the later MA and his solo LP to see evidence of huge improvement. But the one thing that makes him stand out from a large crowd is his absolute mastery of the guitar. He is simply magnificent and combines thoughtful acoustic work with stunning bursts of electric solos.

However, the vocal draw for me has to be Heather Findlay. She has a stunning range and can also belt out a stormer as well. I will also give a special mention to Angela Goldthorpe, who provides excellent backing vocals and also has the finest flute heard in prog since the halcyon days of Anderson & Gabriel. It is nice to see such a lovely instrument employed to good effect on this LP. To hear the flute solo on Which Wood? is to simply reminisce in days gone by.

Highlights are many on this, but the first track that made me sit up and take real notice was Half The Mountain, a Josh vocal containing quite an outstanding guitar solo. From this, it is easy to see why Ritchie Blackmore was such an early patron of Josh and the band.

The Last Bright Light contains everything, including Gregorian chants. My favourite, however, is the Findlay vocal and composition Shrinking Violet, which recounts her deep rooted troubles in formative years, and it is an excellent and powerful lyric and track. The end passage, when her chants combine with a hugely powerful Josh guitar solo simply takes the breath away.

There are many influences on this LP. There is heavy rock a la Rainbow/Deep Purple, folk rock a la Jethro Tull, very large Celtic sounds, and, of course, the obvious Pink Floyd references, most clear on the final track, Mother Nature. There is on this a cracking passage where Josh & Findlay belt out the Sometimes... sequence before the music descends into a very obvious Floyd Wish You Were Here era inspired closing sequence.. That is not said to denigrate the track - it is lush and Josh and Jennings play beautifully.

If you are after a blend of harder rock, Celtic tinged music, folk, and Floyd, combined with some of the best female vocals in the genre and exceptional guitar work, then this LP is definitely for you. Four stars for this, but probably worth 4.5.

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Send comments to lazland (BETA) | Report this review (#211385) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Just moving on...

The Last Bright Light is by many considered to be Mostly Autumn's finest hour and though I can understand why someone would think that, in my opinion they peaked with the previous The Spirit Of Autumn Past. After the rather weak debut album, Mostly Autumn perfected their craft on The Spirit Of Autumn Past. With the present album, they move on to some extent and partly adopt a more contemporary sound. While there is nothing wrong with trying out new things - indeed, that is just what they needed - I personally don't much like the direction they were going in here. The focus is now stronger on the Pop-side of the band and the production is more contemporary. One could think that the production is improved, and in some sense it is, but personally I liked the raw edges of The Spirit Of Autumn Past better. The sound of The Last Bright Light is somehow too "perfect" and something is thereby lost.

After an instrumental intro repeating the melody of The Gap Is Too Wide that closed the previous album, we get We Come And We Go as the first proper song. To my ears, this tune sounds just like something you would hear on Rock/Pop radio any day and as such it is just dull! It bores me with its catchy but utterly predictable melody and overly simplistic lyrics. The album comes off to a slow and lazy start and I miss the rocking Winter Mountain that opened The Spirit Of Autumn Past with a punch. Half The Mountain is another slow tune, a bit better, but hardly remarkable in any way and almost equally radio friendly. It is first when we reach track five, The Dark Before The Dawn, that The Last bright Light can lay any claim whatsoever of being a Prog (or even Prog Related) album.

The Pink Floyd influences are still very much in evidence, and sometimes they once again come across as Pink Floyd-clones. But on this album, as I've said, they also adopt a somewhat more contemporary sound. Overall, I think that there are just too many ballads on this album and they almost never rock out. When they do, it often sounds forced like on Never The Rainbow which is a 100% conventional rocker. Admittedly, there is a nice flow to the album, at least on the first half. However, all of the long tracks have been extended beyond what was necessary and the compositions are not as strong here as on the previous two albums. There is not one song on this album that is as memorable for me as the best songs from For All We Shared and The Spirit Of Autumn Past.

The Celtic Folk-side of the band has been considerably toned down for this album and it is first towards the end of the album that we get the most folky tunes, Helm's Deep and Which Wood? These two are actually my favourite songs from The Last Bright Light.

There are some good moments here for sure, but generally this is not really my cup of tea I'm afraid

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#426999) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 03, 2011

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars For my tastes this is the best studio album ever released by Mostly Autumn even though I remember a little disappointment at the first listen. There had been an important change in the lineup respect to the first two albums: there's no more violin and this means that the celtic influence is less important and this is what I was disappointed for. Later I have realized that it's better looking for prog on prog albums and for folk on folk albums. At the end it's better so as the band was not able to make a real fusion of the two genres, apart from the second half of The Gap Is Too Wide where electric guitar and pipes stay well together.

Another significant change is Mr. Blackmore junior at the drums.

And this is how this album starts. The last seconds of The Gap is Too wide open this album as the previous was opened by the last notes of The Night Sky. A short instrumental intro leads to the first true song: "We Come and We Go", a soft acoustic ballad with a powerful chorus.

"Half The Mountain"...why does Bryan Josh sing so much? However, at this point MA have a distinctive sound. The influence of David Gilmour in how Bryan plays guitar can't disappear, but on this third album and mainly on this song there's no sense in speaking of references. This is a Mostly Autumn song. There's maybe a bit of Genesis when the music stops and there's a piano crescendo which leads to a guitar solo more in the style of Steve Rothary than of Gilmour.

A short acoustic interlude with "The Eyes of the Forest" that's the first song fully featuring Heather's vocals. She really makes the difference. I think Bryan Josh is underrated as singer because his voice can't be compared in any way to Heather's, but taken alone even if not very good he's not so much bad. The song is sweet and deep like a starry sky. The bad is Angela's flute fading out at the end. Please let her play.

The atmosphere changes drastically with the dark sounds of "Darkness Before the Dawn". The keyboard intro has a bit of Blade Runner inside, then Bryan sings and on the chorus we have the first celtic moment of the album which is performed by Angela's flute. A sudden stop and the darkness is restored. Then celtic again until the guitar solo.

Fender piano and Heather's whispered voice on low pitches create the right atmosphere for a great song. "Hollow" is a slow crescendo of emotions with a great piano solo in the middle. Great not technically speaking but for what it's able to create in the listener: the right expectation for Bryan's guitar solo. Then Heather is backed by Angela in the reprise of the chorus to the coda.

The celtic flavor comes back thanks to Angela's flute and the acoustic guitar. I don't know if played by Bryan or by Liam Davison. Not a special song anyway.

Then comes the title track. again acoustic with a whispered voice, but this time is Bryan's. A male choir (keyboard?) accompanies Bryan to the chorus, followed by a very Gilmourian guitar part. Few notes over Liam's harping and the whole structure is repeated a second time. Heather supplies some rhythm with her Bodhran then the last solo guitar brings the song to its end. Not bad even if it's quite similar to Darkness Before the Dawn. . "Never The Rainbow" was a potential hit single. It's a rock song easy enough for the big audience with Heather taking her role of lead singer supported by Iain's organ. Then it comes the first masterpiece song f the album. Since now to the end there's only excellent stuff. "Shrinking Violet" features Heather as lead vocalist and in the chorus she makes a duo with Angela. All what you look for in a symphonic prog song is here, plus the folk flavor added by the flute. Think to Renaissance just to have an idea.

"Helms Deep" is the most folky song. of the album. Based mainly on few 12-strings chords and Angela's flute has some very floydian moments inside. It's one of my favorite tracks. I have to add that the live version on the DVD "The Story So Far" features an interlude made of bass, drums and bodhran instead of the "pipes and chevalry" of the studio version. I think I prefer the first.

"Which Wood" is a short instrumental based on flute with a medieval flavor. It's similar in the repetitive structure to "At Last To Rivendell" on their "Lord Of The Rings": the same theme repeated several times increasing the speed.

Finally the masterpiece: "Mother Nature". I have read about Bryan Josh been inspired to his mother's death. It's a complex long song, quite an epic, with a strong Genesis flavor. Bryan and Heather sing together, first over a piano base. "Sometimes she cries for love...." The chorus is developed around this sentence. There are several moments in this song. The guitar solo at around minute 4 reminds a lot of early Marillion, think to Grendel, but I personally like this song more than everything the Marillion have ever done.

Just a trivia: I remember some years ago I was paying a fee at a motorway gate (in my country motorways are not free) and the officer asked me what I was listening to. It was a compilation of MA songs that I had made at home just for that travel as I couldn't bring with me all the albums that I wish. I picked up the cd from the reader and gave it to him saying "Mostly Autumn, Try". It was the coda of this song, when Josh plays with no effects like Dave Gilmour on the final of High Hopes. Effectively I see a connection between Mother Nature and High Hopes even if they are two very different songs. This song would be enough for the maximum rating, and given that the rest of the album has just a couple of "non-special" tracks I'm not ashamed of rating it 5 stars.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#500812) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars "The Last Bright Light" is an excellent followup to "The Spirit of Autumn Past". The songs are a balance of heavy rock to ambient pastoral ballads and Celtic flavours. The lyrics are focussed on searching for answers, to find security and to protect the environment.

The indispensable songs that are played live often are the infectious melodic 'We Come And We Go', fan favourite 'Never the Rainbow', 'Half The Mountain' with Pink Floyd atmospheres, soaring lead breaks and Gilmour-ian vocals, and the amazing mini epic 'Mother Nature'. This 12 minute treasure has some sumptuous piano and harmonies that are carried along with breezy synths, and a delightful lead guitar break. It builds to a heavy passage with howling wind and a driving beat. The keyboard solo is also a superb embellishment to the music, making this one of the band's greatest triumphs. The heavier side of the band is also found on the catchy 'The Dark Before the Dawn', complete with The Who style synths, and the rhythmic memorable 'Never the Rainbow', one of my favourites from the group.

I like the quiet respite of Heather Findlay's vocals and Angela Goldthorpe's exquisite pastoral flute on "The Eyes Of The Forest", a soft ballad about the plight of treefelling. Findlay is also beautiful on the vocals of 'Hollow', with precious acoustic and keyboard musicianship. There are Celtic moments such as joyous instrumental 'Helm's Deep', and 'Prints in the Stone' with gorgeous flute passages and the slow peaceful 'Shrinking Violet', haunting and mesmirising with dreamy vocals. 'Which Wood?' is also a pleasant instrumental flute driven romp. These quiet moments are of course one of the drawcards to Mostly Autumn, who are concerned about the environment and filling albums up with slow measured beauty. The ambient ethereal 'Just Moving On' leads seamlessly to 'We Come and We Go', the band in their most melancholy mood. 'The Last Bright Light' moves into some uplifting crescendos and an absorbing structure, with gentle vocals and a soundscape of deep bass male choral intonations and acoustics over a layer of synth strings.

The musicianship is excellent throughout especially the organ phrases of Iain Jennings, Josh Bryan's guitar hooks, Andy Smith's Bass, Jonathan Blackmore's drumming and some wonderful flute from Goldthorpe. It is an album of over 70 minutes of compelling music and features some of the band's most beloved songs. Overall, this is one of the best Mostly Autumn albums available along with the previous album "The Spirit of Autumn Past" and "Passengers."

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#777136) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Last bright light is the third album of this excellent band from UK named Mostly Autumn. I was really pleasent surprised by this album from the first time I've heared , I guess 7-8 years ago, and one of my fav from them for sure. Well crafted album , is a significant development of the band's progressive sound, definetly more progressive then their first two albums. Very smooth and elegant music, very similar with Pink Floyd, specially in vocal department, Bryan Josh delivers a Gilmore like vocal parts, but aswell the guitars are very like on the masters with nice celtic folky psychedlic touches. Lush arrangements, hammond , flute gives a very special atmosphere on this release. We Come And We Go and Half the mountin are simply beautuful full of depth and excellent arrangements, highlights for me, Bryan Josh voice is very warm and very good for this type of music, love it. Heather Findlay sing on two pieces and aswell she is very fine here. Lots of melodic lines, instrumental passages dominates the album in places, is even an instrumental one named Helms Deep, wich is very well constructed from mellow celtic parts from the beggining to bursting hammond prog with intresting guitar paterns of the highest calibre, remind me of Iona in arrangements.Never The Rainbow is another highlight besides those two mentioned before. Definetly a solid album for me, maybe for many listners is to light or mellow, but this is their sound and how they developed across the years. 4 solid stars, I really like it, warm and beautiful music.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#950465) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars Already on their third album, Mostly Autumn are the brightest British light in Cyclops' firmament. And on the evidence of this there is no chance of it dimming at the moment. Mostly Autumn bring in Celtic elements and mix them with some progressive undertones, so that the songs stand very much in their on right. Add to that the strong vocals of Bryan Josh and Heather Findlay and this is a band to be much admired.

Some times, such as "We Come and We Go" they sound almost Floydian yet on others (such as "The Dark Before The Dawn") they bring in the power of Horslips in full flight. By the way, the intro to that last number sounds very similar to Holst's "Mars" but isn't credited?.

It is an album that has beauty and delicacy ("Hollow"), or power and passion. They have been touring with Blackmore's Night and the added exposure can only do them good. This album will see them move on from being the Classic Rock Society's Best New Band. It has many layers that only become apparent when played many times, but even on first hearing it is an album to be savoured.

Originally appeared in feedback #62, May 01

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#968519) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, June 01, 2013

Latest members reviews

4 stars Sometimes She Cries for Love. Good dose of Rock, Folk and Space. This fantastic album has four pillars, which are the songs that masterfully unifies the three styles. 1) The Dark before the Dawn, deploying energy adjusted and flute super phrasing in the chorus. 2) The Last Bright Light, wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#977466) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, June 13, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Being a devout Magenta follower, I decided to check out an MA album to see if they were my cup of tea. I waited quite some time before finally going for it as this band seems to have more detractors than most. So I went for the highest rated album here on the site, The Last Bright Light. I had ... (read more)

Report this review (#189944) | Posted by johnobvious | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars simply wonderful. this group is rock, is folk, is space, is prog.... very original (the best compliment you can do nowadays to a group). This is their best album since now, and if you want to know this group you must have this and not the last albums that are most Fleetwood Mac oriented. Wonderf ... (read more)

Report this review (#145253) | Posted by babbus61 | Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A BEAUTIFUL PEACE OF ART When I knew Mostly Autumn, I was kind of shoked, the first thing I listened from them was the album "Passengers" and it sounds really good for me, but after listening that beautiful album, "The last Bright Light" came to my hands, I listened to it, and I still can bel ... (read more)

Report this review (#116043) | Posted by Nash | Thursday, March 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Insipid. Mostly Autumn is one of my favorite contemporary progressive rock bands, particularly prog folk. However, this album is marred by Bryan Josh's awful vocals in the begining of the album. Although he displays some admirable guitar work, it seems unfocused and largley undeveloped. As ... (read more)

Report this review (#107497) | Posted by Asyte2c00 | Sunday, January 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How do you spell perfection? T-H-E-L-A-S-T-B-R-I-G-H-T-L-I-G-H-T. This is an album that will be hard to top for many years to come, whether by other prog bands or even by Mostly Autumn theirselves. Perfectly balanced between male and female vocals, exquisite in the use of keyboards, thunderous ... (read more)

Report this review (#68633) | Posted by | Monday, February 06, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The reviews I read caught my attention so I bought this album. I must say I've been disappointed, expecting much more. This is a good album, it has some nice songs (Helms Deep), but this is certainly not a masterpiece of progressive rock. Certainly not! But if you like folk/celtic prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#65430) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One from the most important works. Sometimes I wonder why Mostly Autumn have an opinion folk band. Of course there can find short fragments Celtic sounds, but 90% is pure , fantastic rock, full of sorrow, full of dynamite. I like all Mostly Autumn, all albums. I wish you listen them aspecially ... (read more)

Report this review (#61256) | Posted by | Thursday, December 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Absolutely excellent!! If you like haunting melodies, be it melancholic, nature/inspired, comtemplative or simply inspired, and if you like an combination of folk instruments like recorders, bodhran, tin whistle with epic guitar solos in the vain of Pink Floyd, then this is your album. It s ... (read more)

Report this review (#57154) | Posted by Theo Verstrael | Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is so far Mostly Autumn's masterpiece. It's a brilliant work that has a great flow throughout the whole album. It starts, as usual with an MA album, with the ending sounds of the last album Spirit of Autumn Past. Then starts one of the best songs of the album: We Come and We Go. It sets t ... (read more)

Report this review (#52010) | Posted by obseize | Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars From the first time I have seen Mostly Autumn in the spring of 2004 at the Bluescafe in Apeldoorn I was a big admirer of them. During that gig Passengers was their latest (and very good) album. Of couse I tried to get all of their CD's and DVD's. Now I have them all and especially 'The Last Br ... (read more)

Report this review (#45182) | Posted by versnick | Thursday, September 01, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was the first album of Mostly Autumn I ever bought. I had discovered them through a Tolkien-documentary DVD, which included "Helm's Deep". I really liked it, so I wanted to know more about this band. And it wasn't a disappointment. Calling them a folk-band is a little misleading. There are ... (read more)

Report this review (#39597) | Posted by Anthony | Saturday, July 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I like a lot Mostly Autumn and i have to say this is the best album of the band. For me, at least. But also i feel is one of the best albums of history of contemporary music, even when never it will appear at a list of Rolling Stone magazine. To talk about the influences in the sound of M ... (read more)

Report this review (#4927) | Posted by incubus | Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Actually, 4 3/4 stars. WOW, this was the first album I ever heard from Mostly Autumn and I was just blown away. The CD didn't leave my player for 2 weeks, and since then I have picked up many of their other releases, but I believe this to be their best. There are no weak songs on the album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#4924) | Posted by rjeffreyr | Tuesday, June 01, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best from this band - best CD I've heard in years - a wonderful soundscape that will trnscend you to another plane. Much better than their latest release - Passengers - although that's also pretty good. ... (read more)

Report this review (#4923) | Posted by | Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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