For many people it came as a big surprise, and most of all a big shock, when the news was brought that Liam Davison had died at the age of 50. This all happened November 2017. For those who don't know this silent musician, some history lessons are in place. Liam joined Mostly Autumn as the second guitarist in the mid-1990s and could already be heard on the debut album For All We Shared which was released in 1999. He left the band twice and as far as I know, in 2014 for the last time. Three years before his death. Leaving behind an excellent solo album, titled A Treasure Of Well-Set Jewels (2011, see review).
The man who had no problem with his role as the second guitarist behind Bryan Josh, was always in the hearts of his fellow band members. Therefore sooner or later a tribute dedicated to him was to be expected. That time has come now with the release of White Rainbow. Band leader Bryan Josh is very honest about this album and says full hearted ; "This one's for Liam". Of course this comes as no surprise when you are together in a band for 18 years. When you are going through many musical adventures together you certainly deserve a kind of Viking funeral. Therefore Bryan wrote a beautiful piece with the title Viking Funeral. This ten minutes long track is one of the many musical highlights on this release next to the ultimate epic title track. On this almost twenty minutes long composition all of the musicians show what they are capable off. Olivia Sparnenn-Josh (vocals, additional keys), Bryan Josh (guitars, vocals, additional keys), Chris Johnson (guitars), Iain Jennings (keyboards), Angela Gordon (flute, recorders), Andy Smith (bass guitar) and Henry Rogers (drums) come up with one of the best Mostly Autumn tunes ever. A future Mostly Autumn classic for sure. The landscape where they come from (York, UK) can be heard throughout the entire song. Really beautiful done! The bands biggest influence dominates the track mainly. Traces of Pink Floyd can be heard many times. Just listen to Bryan's vocal and guitar parts and you know what I mean. Of course Livvy shines all the way on this piece of music, just like on most of the other songs on this release. She is emotional all the way! Hats off for how she can put her soul and salvation in her voice. So convincing.
I will not go any further in details about each track separately, but it will come as no surprise that writing and recording this album has been an emotional roller coaster for the band and you can hear that. The band wanted to make a musical monument for Davison. Losing someone can tear your heart apart, but if you can put that pain and emotion into your music, special things will happen. Then a piece of music grows into something big, as you can hear on all of the eleven compositions.
White Rainbow is without any doubt one of the best albums in the bands richly filled discography and highly recommended to all of their fans and beyond! Liam would have been proud, because Mostly Autumn has released a very good album. White Rainbow is just a top class progressive rock album with many folk influences. Full of fascinating moments, of emotions, and full of art. Maybe it's difficult to re-arrange all the emotional feelings after the album has ended. A truly wonderful testimony of an excellent band that still can touch deep into your heart.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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