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Mostly Autumn - The Spirit Of Autumn Past CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.78 | 152 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Mostly (but not wholly) autumn

After a rather disjointed and also quite derivative debut album, Mostly Autumn followed it up shortly afterwards with the much stronger The Spirit Of Autumn Past which is my favourite album by the band. While it still suffers from some of the same shortcomings as the debut album, this second studio effort constitutes a large improvement over the first one in all respects. The band draws on a slightly wider set of influences this time and it is thankfully no longer exclusively Pink Floyd and traditional Folk Rock that inspires the band. Still, Mostly Autumn's influences are primarily Proto-Prog and Prog Related bands most of which had already reached a wide (or even mainstream Rock) audience already by the end of the 1960's. I'm thinking primarily of bands such as Fairport Convention, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and, most notably, the aforementioned Pink Floyd (and yes, I do think that the early albums by the latter two bands are Proto-Prog or Prog Related at best).

As such, Mostly Autumn presents us with an appealing mixture of Psychedelic Rock, Folk Rock and Hard Rock, all strongly rooted in the mentality of the late 60's and early 70's, with sprinklings of pure traditional Celtic music. Is this therefore to be called Retro-Prog? It is retro, but in my view there is not much Prog to be found in this band. Brian Josh and co. seem to be almost wholly oblivious of the sheer existence of most of the genuinely progressive bands and subgenres of our beloved archives (Symphonic, Eclectic, Neo- Prog, etc.). Is a simple mixture of different types of music in itself enough to make something progressive? Well, I would say that it depends very much on how the mixture is done exactly. In my opinion, Mostly Autumn is a band that very seldom crosses the border from Prog Related to something truly progressive, but there are a couple of such moments on this album.

The album opens with my favourite Mostly Autumn song, Winter Mountain. This rocking tune with Jethro Tull-like flute is an apt album opener. It has more punch than most songs by the band overall and easily outshines anything from the debut in my opinion. It also features a very good end-section with nice keyboard and guitar work over a surprisingly symphonic backdrop. Another highlight of the album is for me the beautiful, eight-minute Evergreen. It reminds a bit of Barclay James Harvest in style and is very pleasant indeed. Like on the debut, there are also some more folky tunes in the middle of the album. Shindig and Blakey Ridge/When The Waters Meet are danceable jigs with Rock drums in the best Fairport Convention tradition and these are vast improvements over the similar songs found on For All We Shared and are actually highly enjoyable. The latter flows straight into Underneath The Ice which is very appealing. The two part title track is another good one that has become a live favourite.

The rest of the album is less appealing, but there is not one song that I find really terrible or annoying this time. This Great Blue Pearl is a Pop tune with an exceedingly catchy chorus and the expected Pink Floyd-ish harmonies, but as such it is actually one of the better songs of this type by the band with some tasteful organ and a good guitar solo at the end - quite predictable, but rather pleasant nonetheless. On the acoustic ballad Pieces Of Love, heather Findlay gets to shine on her own for the first time of this album and she has a fine voice indeed. Please is a rather Poppy mid-tempo number that sounds quite anonymous and becomes dull long before its six minutes are up. The 11 minute closer The Gap Is Too Wide also feels like it has been stretched out over and above what its actual contents warrant, but it is still a pretty good song with some very nice vocals once again.

Overall, The Spirit Of Autumn Past is a nice album that still sprawls a bit in various directions but manages to hold the different elements together much better than on the debut.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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