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Mostly Autumn - Passengers CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.71 | 150 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The follow up to the exceptionally good The Last Bright Light, this is one of the few albums that I have ever pre-ordered, and I awaited it with baited breath when released back in 2003. I love this band, but still have mixed feelings about the overall quality of the whole. Some is sublime, whilst other parts are throwaway.

The opener Somewhere in Between and its successor Pure White Light are good examples. Both see the band trying their utmost to become more than a band regarded as an interesting prog folk outfit with heavy Floyd leanings, into a band that has a good chance of getting airplay on BBC Radio 2. Both are very radio friendly, the first Findlay led, the second with Josh. Neither are bad tracks - they don't make bad music - but they are very untypical of what they are and are capable of producing.

Another Life is far more like it. Co written by Findlay and Iain Jennings, who is in my opinion a very underrated and unsung keyboardist, this is a fine ballad. Heather Findlay has the most lovely and ethereal voice, and she uses it to great effect on this, a tribute to her dead father. The Josh solo towards the end, followed by the keyboard moods and Findlay's chants, are fantastic.

Bitterness Brunt features the great Angela Goldthorpe, now sadly gone from the band, accompanying Findlay on the flute. This track is very Celtic in its tone and outlook and would not have been out of place on the predecessor work. I love the violin at the end of the track.

Caught in a Fold is more rockier, and proves that Findlay can belt out the vocals with the best of them. Jennings is in fine "Jon Lord" form on the Hammond, and the track has great Josh work and flute working in harmony. Not great, a filler, but good nonetheless. The mid flute section could almost be Jethro Tull in their heyday.

The Simple Ways reverts to a Bryan Josh vocal. He does take some getting used to, but the perseverance is worth it, and this track has him and Findlay harmonising very nicely. Another reversion to their Celtic roots, this is good. I also think that Josh should be regarded as a great guitarist in his own right, and not merely as a Gilmour clone. He is far too good and original for that, and the solo midway through again proves this. The flute again features very strongly as the track fades into his final two minutes, and Jennings is once again superb on keyboards, creating a lush and full mood and sound.

First Thought follows. This features some fine guitar backing to a quite mournful and lovely Findlay vocal. This track reminds one of why a lot of people listening to the band wish she sang on every track!

The title track proves it even more strongly. One of the finest tracks this great band have ever produced, Findlay's vocals thoughout are delicate and fragile. Jennings is again on fine form, with a wall of keyboard sound and delicate piano, in turns, backing her, before Josh again shows us just how good he is with an incredible solo to close the song. Fantastic and essential - even if you don't want to "risk" buying the whole album, make sure you download this track alone.

Although only five minutes long, Distant Train is perhaps a tad too long. Reminiscent of Mike Oldfield at the start, this track is rescued by some fine Josh guitars at the end. All fans of classic, hard, and heavy rock will love this sequence.

Answer The Question is rockier and a poorer track, and one the album could have done without. I think this album would be worth an easy four + stars at ten tracks. This is one of the tracks which reduces that rating.

And so to the three part conclusion of the album, Pass The Clock. Absolutely superb, this is the reason why I love this band. Part One is quiet with Josh & Findlay harmonising very well, backed by acoustic guitars and piano. Part Two picks up the pace, and Jennings again excels on the organ. More strings add an almost Romany texture to the mid section, before the riffs calm away to more moody piano and acoustic guitars. Chris Leslie plays the violin, and damn fine he is too. Part Three is a great end to a great track. Both vocalists contribute so much, it is exceedingly simple and all the more effective for that. Relentlessly upbeat, especially the incredible Josh guitar break proving he is very much his own man with his own signature sound.

This is not as good as The Last Bright Light. It is, though, still a fine LP, and I would rate this at 3.5 stars. For the sake of not being seen as too partisan to a band I love, I will round this down to a three star rating for the site. Very good, but there are better places to start if you have never heard them before.

lazland | 3/5 |


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