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


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.47 | 138 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Another album, another lineup. Heather Findlay is gone (check out her new EP) Iain Jennings, Liam Davison and Gavin Griffiths are back. Olivia Spanmen former background vocalist and former Breathing Space takes over Heather's role.

Giving the opener the title of the debut album may have a meaning, I don't know. It starts with an instrumental part that reminds to Vangelis until the keys stop and the classical guitar introduces Bryan's voice. Then comes Olivia. She's not Heather, her pitch seems a little lower than Heather's but she's an excellent singer, too. The song is not so excellent unfortunately. Good but non-essential I'd say.

The acoustic path started with the previous album and continued with Bryan's solo album is evident also in the second song: "Violet Skies". In terms of production I think that Olivia's voice is not well served. Her volume should have been raised a bit more over the ensemble at least in the chorus. Then when she whispers her voice sounds like Susan Vega....a listenable song also this, not a highlight.

Acoustic guitar again. Just for the intro on which the singer doesn't seem to be Bryan, I don't know. Then it develops in a rock way, that's where Bryan fails more often. The songs are not bad, but finding something above the average is very hard. Not "Deep In Borrowdale" for sure.

Blues-Rock songs come always in a pair. "-When Cowboys Rule The World-". Pretentious lyrics. An attempt to write something with political or hystorical contents that I think is totally failed. "Something Better" has poor lyrics IMO and from a musical point of view is a 2-stars song. Something already listened too many times.

The Title track opens like The Final Cut (just a passing rocket), then the guitar sounds very Floydian but this time closer to Waters than to Gilmour. Nice performance from Olivia. This time the volume of her voice is fine, but the instruments are not very loud. Good song this one, but very far from things like Mother Nature.

"Back To Life" starts with a nice guitar harping and a whistle. Olivia sings with few piano notes behind. Finally a true Mostly Autumn song. A bit too mellow, maybe, but good. The first track of this album that I could put in a compilation, even in the louder second half.

"Hold The Sun" is another listenable song, not one to suggest to who is approaching MA for the first time. My feelings are likely influenced by having followed this band since the first album. If a new band had released an album like this as debut I would call it "promising", but for a band like this it's not enough, and not promising anything.

"And When The War Is Over" closes the first CD. A piano intro with an acoustic Gilmourish guitar playing bluesy notes, then Olivia sings. Take "House Of The Rising Sun", play it slower and you'll have something similar. The chorus is musically trivial. Not a progressive track in any way.

Now the "Special Edition" CD. As I have written in my review of "Heart Full of Sky" I can't stand with this behaviour. I can understand a limited edition including video footage or extra material. You can decide whether to buy it or not. Making it with studio tracks has no sense. Release a double album if you want.

"The Sound Of The World" makes clear that this is not a bonus. It's more or less the same stuff of the first CD. Musically trivial song. Below average.

"High" is another Bryan's attempt to rock. Very similar to "The King's Return" that's the song that I like less in the whole MA discography.

"67-79" Is Bryan singing so high pitched ? It sounds like brit-pop to me. The flute makes me think to late Caravan (The Album, Back To Front). It's like 67-79 are the years skipped when taking inspiration for this song.

Unfortunately "Anything at All" doesn't contribute in changing my mood. When Roger Waters writes bad songs they sound like this one.

"Ice" has the same title of a Camel's masterpiece. Only the title, sadly. Bryan sings like an 80s pop singer. Nothing interesting happens for the first 3 minutes, then the piano is left to play solo. At least also this album has some good moments. It lasts for less than two minutes, anyway. The rest is back to the album's standards.

"Hats Off" is not bad. Still Bryan on the rock side but the melody is stronger. Olivia makes only background vocals on most of the tracks. This may be one of the reasons why Heather has left.

"Forever Young" leaves more room to Olivia, but she whispers also on this song. Close to Renaissance but not as good as a Renaissance song. Let it run in the background.

When the last track "Days of Our Love" comes with Bryan singing on his 12-strings guitar I'm too tired. I can't give it enough attention also because it's not captivating enough.

I think it's clear that I didn't like this double CD. I don't want to say that MA are a closed chapter for me, also because Bryan's solo album is not bad, surely better than this one, and also what Liam and Olivia have done with Breathing Space is good so I'm not desperate, but in my opinion this is the worst studio album released by MA up to now. I hope the next, if any, will be better.

octopus-4 | 2/5 |


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