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Mostly Autumn - Go Well Diamond Heart CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.47 | 115 ratings

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Theo Verstrael
3 stars What to expect from the new Mostly Autumn album? That was the big question when it was announced by the band and remained the big question until the album arrived in the post last week. How could they make up for the departure of Heather Findlay? All fans know that Olivia Sparnenn is a very good singer but fully replacing Heather...? The first thing that strikes is the title: it can, I guess, mean nothing else than a deep and respectful bow to Heather and the decision she made to proceed on her own. That is sympathetic, it is great. But does it also mean a good album? Well, it can, again, not meet the high quality of the first three albums, alas. Hardly any folk influences to be found, no traditionals at all. For some unknown reason the band does not know how to catch up with that kind of songs, or they simply don't want it. So again it is primarily a rock album and therefore in the same vein as the former three albums. It starts off with a very spherical, mumming intro with uileann pipes, flute and Loreena McKennitt-like vocals (well done, Olivia!) and takes the listener to moody glenns and wet hills. A soft acoustic guitar blends in, supported by mellow keyboards and then 'For all we shared' really starts with, it must be said, very good singing by both Bryan and Olivia. Of course the title is no coIncidence, it refers to the first album of this great band. Halfway the guitars and drums come in and take the song to a beautiful finale. A great starter, very promising. The next song is almost solely sung by Olivia with Bryan and Anne-Marie Helder on background vocals. Again a very nice song with a soft beginning and a real finale with outbursting of guitar, very Mostly Autumn. And it proves that Olivia can indeed deliver a song very well. But then things start to deteriorate a bit. 'Deep in Borrowdale' and 'Something better' sound like a typical AOR-rock song with Bryan on vocals. The melodies are rather straightforward again, nothing special, no interesting breaks or instruments, a bit of a disappointment. And too much Bryan singing; he is not a very good singer, has always had excellent singers in his band but somehow wants to do the job himself too much. He shouldn't. With the title song they catch up again because it is surprising in melody and music, especially the keyboards sound good here. 'With back to life' Olivia and Bryan wrote a beautiful ballad together, supported by the uileann pipes played by Troy Donockley. A mellow, wandering song leading to a fierce guitar driven outro, outstanding. The two last songs on disc one are more in less in the same vein and therefore more than pleasant. All in all the regular album is good, albeit not excellent. Nobody could have expected an excellent album so I think that the band has done a very good job with this. But is remains stupid to buy only to the first disc. Because as with 'Heart full of sky' the SE contains a full second disc but very pleasant songs that shouldn't be missed. Not all of them are that good (especially 'High' is another simple rock-thing) but the majority definitely is! Especially 'Ice' stands out, with a good piano melody, good vocals, mellow guitar and some flute. Altogether it remains too bad that Anne-Marie Helder has a rather minor role as flautist and vocalist. She deserves better!! All in all it is a convincing rendition of MA, taking into account the heavy loss they suffered. Olivia couldn't have been a better replacement for Heather and she'll grow even stronger, both with vocals and with song-writing. A somewhat larger role for Anne-Marie and MA can probably write the real classic the next time.

I want to give it 3,5 stars but will stick to 3 stars for there are definitely things to improve.

Theo Verstrael | 3/5 |


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