Mostly Autumn doesn't need any introduction. Brian Josh made some marvellous records with his band since 1996, the start of Mostly Autumn. After the departure of leading vocalist Heather Findlay, he reset the style a little bit from folk rock to a more classic rock.
With their latest album Dressed In Voices, they explore the dark concept of a killer forced to witness the full weight of all he is taking away, as time briefly comes to a standstill. Saturday Night starts with a dark sequence, quickly followed by the high notes of Olivia Sparnenn. It's all in the vein of the Dutch progressive rock of Within Temptation. In the second song Not Yours To Take the main vocalist is Brian himself. Listen to the rock solid rhythm section formed by Andy Smith (bass) and Alex Cromarty (drums). In Running, there's that excellent combination between the voice of Olivia, the soaring guitar of Bryan, and Iain Jennings' keyboards. In the rock-song Home, there are many interesting parts that kept my attention all the time too. The first part of the vulnerable song First Day At School, is a ballad. It's about a boy's fear, being afraid of monsters under his bed. He searches for protection from his parents. The second part is more up-tempo. Quite strange to hear the contrasting in the next song, Down By The River. It's more heavy rock like Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull played it in the early seventies. Skin On Skin is a traditional folk song as from the earliest days of Mostly Autumn. It has the atmosphere of Boy Scouts, campfire and happy dance music. The song ends with beating drums and the singing guitar of Bryan. And song no., 8 The House On The Hill, is an acoustic one (traditional country music) and tells about an adult remembering the good old days; “Carelessly we'd roll the time away, This endless summer sun illuminates those days”. Another highlight is the dramatic ballad The Last Day. Eminently sung by Olivia, with Iain's piano as a ticking time bomb. And yes, it does explode halfway through the song. That's the reason I like the music of Mostly Autumn: the almost unpredictable song writing by Bryan. Acoustic guitars and angelic voices in Dressed in Voices, the title song of this album, the lyrics hit you straight in the heart. In my opinion it is the album's best song; all the good qualities of Mostly Autumn can be heard here. The Library is a short blues song in the vein of David Gilmour's Pink Floyd. It's followed by the shortest song on this album, Footsteps, which has some dark and looming sounds of ... footsteps. The album ends with the epilogue song Box Of Tears. The lyrics are impressing. To give you an example; “Every choice we make, every path we pave. On your judgement day, will they come. In this box of tears, where you stored those years. On your final day let them go”.
Many readers of our magazine may find that Mostly Autumn were better in their beginning days with Heather as a lead singer. I don't agree, because the lyrics of Brian and Olivia are improving with every record. Musically they already knew their job very well. So give this band a warm welcome when they tour in your country; they deserve it. You're sure to have a special evening. I know it from my own experience.
**** Cor Smeets (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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