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Mostly Autumn - White Rainbow CD (album) cover

WHITE RAINBOW

Mostly Autumn

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 105 ratings

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astrophotographer
5 stars My first review and 5 stars? Absolutely, and no question. A recent convert to MA (puzzled as to how I've missed hearing till now) I've had this disc almost exclusively on my system maybe 2 dozen times since it was sent out to me in NZ, the pleasure increasing with each play. . I very much relate to Bryan's love of the mountains and outdoors, clearly evident in the lyrics ? to say nothing of the "big skies" (astro boy here) that are spoken of. Similarly I warm to the heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics which add a great dimension to the (prog) sonics. And that heart- on-sleeve is the heart of this album, written for clearly a much loved friend and band member of many years, Liam Davison. Beautifully done. To begin, we have an opening "Precession", the first bars with sparkling stereo delay creating expectation of great production and care, enhanced by the emotive whistles and pipes of Troy Donockley. A grand, proud welcome. "Viking funeral" (an idea evidently that Liam himself had) with the opening keys immediately arresting the senses, then a device repeated through the album, moments of force giving way to unexpected, timeless peace. Two guitars soloing against a driving backline, then the first of many frisson (musical chills) moments as Troy adds to the aural charge. Track two just starting and my head is reeling with joy already. Oh boy, this is grand. 'take this hand with your invisible hand' is but one lyric of the high emotion, then another frisson moment at the guitar entry and a solo rich in bent note passion. Captivatingly, Olivia Sparnon's heart piercing vocals enter on "Burn", magically matching the song's story, and rising to a phenomenal peak of intensity, another hair raiser. I've not enjoyed her vocals more, and that's a high bar. Her beautifully engaging vocals continue in "Run for the Sun", and by now your heart and soul are open and know you're in for a great journey. It's s a brilliantly crafted song all in itself. With "Western Skies", just when you're thinking you're settling in, it comes alive and dazzles even before the guitar kicks. . "Into The Skies" keeps that momentum, and carries me away, away from cares where i can throw my arms wide open. Then, like the discs pervading contrasts of force giving way to stillness, we leave the open spaces to feel a torment, 'all out off heartbreak' but here is one who still finds their way "Up". Contrast and drama which continues the consistent and brilliant production. And now something very special indeed arrives with "Undertow"", a masterpiece musically, so well played and performed, for my money,, a great exhortation to live life for the better. And then it's "Gone". The music follows the lyrics, evoking that gone is the struggle of life (previous track,Undertow) but also this is obviously returning to the theme, an undertow itself, of lament. Title track and 18 minutes, and a brooding rich introduction. Straight off let me say I've 'passed the time ... fire ablaze ... drinking' 'Old Peculiar' at The Old Dungeon Ghyll, and it was raining (again). MA, you've nailed it. The tragic storm, the terror of it, the likes of this I have not experienced. You take me in there - 'as all the weather sinks through the floor' - with music of such descriptive power. Not an easy task, you even detail the calm before the fury. It's great music too, tragedy aside, the track is a great piece of strong imagery. Olivia shines strident (you'll need to hear it) with magnificent vocals again, lyrics of despair 'that will cut in your heart'' followed and complemented by perfectly placed growling drop tuning in the guitar. . Then, without any dialogue of the escape, we're safe, we focus on the family unit as they return home, where 'everything changes with you' and those hairs are standing up again , more so as the guitar soars it's outro. Bryan, how on earth did you manage to sing "Young"", and yet you go all out and sing it so tenderly. What a tribute. Olivia with you just adds to the poignancy. 'check us out' - it's a farewell song of words absolutely from the heart, and oh the feeling of the end of a summer holiday, an end of the day album closer. Literal yet I also feel am invitation to relate, even if metaphorically ? 'your guitar was your heart, my guitar is my heart', then it turns to togetherness, and something happens in the peripheral left and right channels, and if you didn't have water in the eyes already .... I'm wrung out, this lesser known band has pulled me emotionally, with great music, from one extreme to another,, with a concept album rich in stories, a beginning, developments and a loving close.. There's not many albums do this, MA, you've created a masterpiece. Five very deserved stars and a top shelf space in my collection.
astrophotographer | 5/5 |

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