In goes without saying that Mostly Autumn is an extremely eclectic band that bend and blend genres like a well made margarita and the results equally as pleasing. However, there is a certain demand to listen attentively with repeat visits before concluding the onslaught that your ears have just heard. Mostly Autumn?s latest offering is no different though it comes with a much more direct and underlying commercial ambience that initially caught me by surprise. Fortunately, the end results are what I have come to expect from Mostly Autumn...breathtaking and inspiring.
Considering this was the first album of new studio material since 2001?s hectic but successful ?Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings?, I was excited at the prospect of their latest offering. The anticipation became a concern when the cd loaded into my computer?s disc player. Finding that the longest track clocked in at barely over 6 minutes this was not a good sign. One of Mostly Autumn?s signatures is their epic songs that breed in a lake of reflectivity that slowly quicken into a rapid rushing river that lash out like a waterfall with a tremendous conclusion. Equally as concerning were the two opening tracks ?Something In Between? and ?Pure White Light? that have a heavy commercial influence, the latter with a profound Pink Floyd leaning. Perhaps Mostly Autumn?s USA visitation had radically influenced them because at this point the album was crying sellout.
Patiently I continued on and should have know better not to doubt this group that has essentially made very few mistakes in their still young career. Don?t get me wrong, this disc is their most commercially appealing album to date. However, due to the unique nature of the band, marketing themselves this way is in and of itself an exceptional and daring move that is both fresh and bold. Traditionalists should not be concerned as the integration of renaissance, folk, and classic rock genres are still ever present with the continued heavy influences of groups such as Iona, Blackmore?s Night and Pink Floyd.
Notwithstanding the initial shock after at least three intense visitations of the entire album did I realize that the trademarks of Mostly Autumn were mostly intact. In fact, even the epic was present in the form of ?Pass The Clock?. In reality it clocks in at over 12 minutes but it is separated into three distinct movements that stand on their own as well as being participants of the bigger picture. Equally as delightful is the renaissance influenced ?Bitterness Burnt?, which features Angela Goldthorpe?s flighty flute work. Countered with bouncy rhythm section, this song has all the characteristic features of Mostly Autumn.
But skipping back to the unique qualities of this project, Heather Findlay is even more prominent on vocals. Though still angelic, Findlay displays a much greater range and sense of urgency in her voice. This is best heard on the Heart influenced ?Caught In The Fold? that truly delivers the goods. Yes, more mainstream meanderings but delightful results nevertheless. Findlay is forceful but with all the finesse we have come to expect from her. If the commercial aspect of this song is too much, Findlay is equally adept and strong in the more traditional Mostly Autumn setting via the melancholy track ?First Thought?.
Those of you that enjoyed the instrumental explorations on ?Music Inspired By The Lord Of The Rings? skip forward to the non-vocal ?Distant Train?. Picking up slowly in pace with Jonathan Blackmore hammering the drums complimented by Andy Smith?s rolling bass the song concludes with an inspiring guitar solo from Bryan Josh. The only complaint I have is that the song clocking in less than 5 minutes could have played out much longer in more Mostly Autumn epic style. Then again it certainly leaves you wanting more which may have been the creative point.
So we continue to have stunning workmanship from this young group that compose like seasoned veterans. Then again, this is Mostly Autumn who comes across almost peerless. Buckle up and enjoy the ride of ?Passengers?. You will have a blast exploring their progressive mystical world.