Occasionally I write reviews of albums for mailing lists. I have therefore
started to keep them here to.
This was the first Mostly Autumn album I got. I decided to get it after hearing
"The Night Sky" on a Classic Rock magazine sampler disc. I wasn’t
100% sure about the track but I loved the use of the Violin and the guitars
so I made my purchase.
For some reason I had it in my head this was the 2nd album perhaps because
there were two out when I was looking for the track I found on the sampler.
Looking at the dates it seems to be the first though. I know I liked the album
overall and have subsequently got the others (currently three). But I think
my views on individual tracks vary so while I lay here recovering from seeing
the band on Saturday night I have decided to review all three albums.
Nowhere To Hide – This kicks of with the wind and the sounds of drunken singing.
The track then breaks into a rather Poppy track. It kind of reminds me of ELO
with the violin on it. I would never have guessed the track was Nowhere To Hide
from the chorus. I would have guessed, "I don’t want to close my eyes".
That could in fact be why I am thinking ELO. ELO Part 2 had a track called "Don’t
wanna". Bryan Josh’s vocals seem to have the feel of the guy from the Pogues
to them. I remember when I first got this album I found this track annoyingly
addictive. I don’t listen to CD’s in complete units and often had to skip this
one for fear of over dosing on it. In Moderation it is good. The Violin and
Keyboard backing definitely reminds me of ELO
Porcupine Rain – The previous track goes into atmosphere and then this one
continues the atmosphere adding a guitar doing a single note guitar pattern
that sound a bit programmed. This is one of my favourite tracks especially as
the chorus has "No More Pain, Now" but the "Now" is delayed
a bar and I was consistently getting this wrong when enjoying it live. There
is a good solid keyboard backing and I was going to say "but no fancy stuff."
however it is more complicated than I originally noticed. I think this is a
standard Rock band formation. IE just keyboards and guitars no Violin or Whistles
The Lost Climb – The previous track ends with bird noises and this one starts
with them continuing and some guitar. It reminds me of King Crimson’s "In
the court of the Crimson King" but that is all I have by them so it might
be a bad example. Bryan sounds more Pink Floyd like with his vocals on this.
And the Violin sounds heavily treated and Floyd like at the start of it’s solo
too. I guess it then goes on to remind me of the end of Curved Air’s "It
happened today". Very nice. This then gives way to a lovely Floyd like
guitar solo. Great Stuff. I am not to struck on the vocal part but you have
to have something before such a great ending. The lyrics themselves seem very
Heroes Never Die – There is a clean break and then some acoustic guitar over
keyboard chords. A Flute then breaks in. The vocals so far have mainly been
Bryan on lead. But Heather is normally backing him up but at a much lower level.
Perhaps as much as 70 to 30. It is interesting how different it seemed at the
gig and how this seems to have changed over the albums but I will stick to this
album for now. This is a very strong song apparently for Bryan’s dad. It’s pace
builds up as it progresses and then we get a great guitar work out at the end.
I can’t get enough of this clean guitar solo style. Excellent
Folklore – Again a clean break and then heavily treated violin over Keyboard
chords. This then speeds up and we get an excellent Jig. Even my daughters who
tend to ignore the music I like wanted to get up and enjoy this one. Once it
really kicks in it has Whistles and flutes? And even a drum break. I am somewhat
baffled as to how this fits with everything else but I love it so what the heck.
Boundless Ocean – This one starts, I think, with flute but I guess it might
be a recorder. It has symphonic keyboard backing and is a fairly gentle song.
It is OK but I prefer the more upbeat stuff. It seems to me Heather vocals are
mostly a fraction behind Bryan’s. This one also ends on a nice violin break.
Shenanigans – Another Jig type work out and I notice the writer is the Violin
player Bob Faulds. It actually starts with the whistles before the whole band
kick in. It is a nice track again. It didn’t please my daughters as much though.
Steal Away – The previous track ends on a crack of thunder and this one continues
the storm. This as a showpiece for Heather’s vocals. They seem very low in range.
Bryan does add backing in places but it is now 70-30 to Heather. Again this
is a mellow track while there is nothing wrong with it, it is not a favourite.
It does pick significantly for the last 90 seconds but they resist giving it
a really big ending.
Out Of The Inn – This starts with an excerpt from Radio 4’s Lord Of The Rings
adaptation. I wonder why? It is another folky jig though. The flute taking the
main lines before handing over to the violin and then the full band let rip
with great guitar. Bryan wrote this so he clearly likes this stuff. The keyboards
have a good backing sound on this. This is the first song where the bell on
the drumming annoys me. I noticed it on an earlier track but it was a lot quieter.
I don’t know why the bell annoys me but I have noticed this style of drumming
a lot of Mostly Autumn tracks.
The Night Sky – It’s back to the wind, which makes me think of the Moors perhaps
a Wuthuring Heights type landscape. This one has a very Floyd like treatment.
The keyboards at the start are fast changing bell types sounds. There are flutes
and then the violin taking part in the build up to the big guitar ending. I
really like this one now. I don’t think Bryan’s vocals are his strongest asset
and that is perhaps why I was cautious about getting more Mostly Autumn based
on this track on the sampler. I am a sucker for Flutes and Violins in a rock
setting and clean guitar solos played with such great feeling get me every time.
Overall I am tempted to say this is my favourite Mostly Autumn album but I
am still fresh to The Last Bright Light and I can’t really remember the Spirit
Of Autumn Past as I listened to it soon after this album and they have kind
of blended in my head.
This appears to be the 2nd Mostly Autumn album and it was certainly my 2nd
album by them.
Winter Mountain – The album starts by ending as For All We Shared ended with
the trailing few notes of the guitar solo and then the wind. We then get a very
multi-part song. Flute, lively keyboards and the full band. Bryan Josh does
the main vocal but Heather Findlay is behind him again and also get some parts
where she is more up in the mix. I really like the backing arrangement on this
one. There is a violin break or is it keyboards? I wonder how they did this
without the violin player on Saturday. Heather finishes the vocals on her own.
The Great Blue Pearl – Bryan starts off this one with an unaccompanied vocal.
I would still say Bryan is Lead and Heather backing but the levels must be more
60 to 40 on this track as opposed to 70-30 the previous album. This seems to
be more of a regular rock band format song. Bryan does a nice guitar solo at
the end but the song tends to be just there for me prior to that. It is neither
good nor bad. I just don’t get a big buzz from it.
Pieces Of Love – We get an acoustic guitar start to this one and then a Heather
solo vocal. There is flute backing her up this time. It is a very mellow piece
with a gentle violin solo near the end. There is just one verse but it is sung
Please – Bryan starts this to a sensitive keyboard backing. Heather joins him
here and there and then the full band join in. This is just the rock subset
again and is far more upbeat. It does go mellow at the start of the last third
and there is a bit of violin but it is mainly a guitar song.
Evergreen – Another acoustic start and more lead vocals from Heather. There
is a 2nd female voice too. I am not if it was Heather still. Then there is a
nice keyboard break. There are more verses and then Bryan switches to Electric
Guitar and we get some great clean soloing again. Liam Davidson can also be
heard too. The sound builds up in volume and Bryan then adds some counterpoint
vocals. It is then time for a big guitar solo and this allows the band to really
take off. An excellent track. The best track so far. It has beauty feeling and
Styhead Tarn – A drum start for a change this time and then some keyboards
join in and minor guitar. Then some vocals from Heather and Bryan I would say
60-40 to Heather. It is just the same line over and over and is not actually
written in the booklet. The track builds up as it goes and to my ears is really
just the intro to…
Shindig – which is a flute and violin jig. There is nice percussion and then
the whole band join in.
Blakey Ridge/When Waters Meet – The previous track continues on into this one,
which starts on acoustic guitar flute and the Bodhran. Some bands might have
claimed this was a single track in three parts. Clearly Mostly Autumn chose
to name them the other way.
Underneath The Ice – This one also feels rather like another part of the previous
song but I can’t really justify why. It starts with acoustic guitar. Are I am
finally waking up to the fact Liam is on the album. He is play too but I hadn’t
really noticed. I like the little touch of the Moog/Radio tuning sounding keyboard
and then the violin and fuller keyboard parts. Heather sings some "ah"’s
but it was a 60-40 Bryan vocal prior to that. I quite like this one considering
it is a quieter one
Through The Window – Violin, acoustic guitar and Bryan alone singing starts
this track. This is another gentle song and it has a good use of flute and violin.
For the last third the rest of the band join in and Heather adds to the vocals.
Again I like this one a lot.
The Spirit Of Autumn Past (Part 1) – A keyboard start. Almost a piano sound
but clearly electric and something else mixed into the patch. This was is just
a bit of light atmospheric noodleling really. A build up to the start of Part
The Spirit Of Autumn Past (Part 2) – The gentle atmosphere continues into this
part and then a drum comes in with increasing volume followed by guitar. Bryan
alone is on the vocals. The pace continues to build there is some Hammond added
and then backing vocals from several people. Suddenly all the backing stops
and it is Bryan’s voice alone and then back to the level we were at before.
Then time for a bit of violin some more verse then a keyboard break with lots
of hints of Hammond in the background and then to finish the piece some guitar
from Bryan but not a massive solo just excellent playing. Without a doubt my
favourite piece of the album. I love it.
The Gap Is To Wide – Someone walking in puddles or something starts the next
piece. Keyboards and Acoustic guitar prelude a piece of emotional violin and
flute and then Heather’s vocals. There is some sound effect talking and then
more vocals. This a 12 minute piece and about a third of the way in thing start
picking up and there is a choir type backing then half why in Bryan kicks in
with some excellent guitar and now I am thinking perhaps this is my favourite
😉 This one is really moving. It is shame it was not done live Saturday. At
the start of the last quarter Uilleann Pipes take over and I can see why it
wasn’t performed it would require to many guest musicians. A great ending to
So it seems Heather is being brought out front more on this album and Angela
Goldthorpe is now a full member of the band.
Winter Mountain is a good start to the album but the tracks until Evergreen
don’t do as much for me as the remainder of the album. It therefore makes it
hard for me to decide which I prefer so far. I think the songs that make me
tick make me tick more on this album and if I dropped the album to LP length
by removing the tracks just mentioned this would definitely be the best. I still
think the other tracks are OK though.
This album seems to have had a more clear style and it is interesting to see
how the band progressed. Having originally been confused about the order of
these first two albums I thought it strange that Heather should have taken a
back seat of the second album and then come back in force of the third but of
course I had it all wrong and it all makes sense now I have sat down and through
One more to go…
I got this soon after release but choose not to play it as I had only just
finished digesting "The Spirit Of Autumn Past". About 10 days before
the gig I suddenly panicked I hadn’t played the album so I stuck it on the bathroom.
I have therefore probably only played it 7-8 times in all. You would think I
would know how this album sounds but I absolutely have forgotten again so it
will be interesting to see my thought as I play it on my Hifi for the first
… Just Moving On – Again we start with the last few notes of the previous
album and this track is only 45 seconds worth of Piano and guitar. Perhaps the
title implies two years have past since the last album and the band have now
lost Bob Faulds on Violin. This means Mostly Autumn have a new sound or focus.
We Come And We Go – This is the first real track and the guitar opening reminds
me of Lou Reed on his recent albums. Bryan is singing and he is unaccompanied
by Heather on this one. I quite like his vocal on this. Heather does start joining
in quietly after the first chorus. The keyboard backing is starting to get more
complex too. Then there are some ah’s add to the sound and then its a minor
guitar break. I friend commented that Bryan sings out of tune and I have to
confess in places on here I wonder if he is right. It doesn’t really bother
me though. I like vocalists with character.
Half The Mountain – Birds and acoustic guitar open this one. Again it is Bryan
singing mainly solos. The band joins in a gentle way and then we get a nice
bit of Flute followed by strong guitar chords. Again the songs build up as it
progresses and I like the keyboard backing. At the start of the last third we
get an interlude which reminds me of Mid 70’s ELO for some reason and then we
get a soaring guitar solo with more choir ah’s. I like the guitar pattern near
the end and before the final solo.
The Eyes Of The Forest – This one is a Heather vocal and it is also her first
song credit. The birds continue on this one and it is a really mellow piece
reminding me of something Curved Air’s Sonja Kristina sings solo I think. There
is another flute break. And there is some Cello. Again as on previous albums
this is fine as a track but doesn’t do an enormous amount for me.
The Dark Before The Dawn – Keyboard landscaping and a Keyboard sound the sounds
like the opening of a Wakeman With Wakeman album (probably just a standard effect)
and things suddenly speed up. Bryan is back on vocals with Heather backing and
there is a really good Flute line going on in the Chorus. The Keyboard effects
sound like they are a bit influenced by a The Who track. At the start of the
end third we get a great guitar solo and I am in heaven again. An excellent
Hollow – Another Mellow keyboard start and another Heather song this time written
by Iain Jennings on keyboards. The track as usual builds up and Heather gets
a second backing line I don’t know who from. The mellow keyboards remind me
of something but I can’t think what. We then get some big guitar from Bryan.
The ending section was still built up but it never really moves out of the mellow
Prints In The Stone – Flute starts this one and it is a Bryan and Heather backing
song. Again this is a fairly mellow song. Mainly acoustic guitar and flute.
The Last Bright Light – A gentle acoustic guitar start and I am really starting
to worry I don’t like the way things are going. Bryan is on vocals and there
are some Gregorian backing vocals. The chorus type section really picks up and
then it is back to a mellow verse. The chorus then occurs and there is a minor
guitar solo over the mellow bit again. We then get extended Gregorian vocals
and guitar solos. It is not a big ending but it is a very good work out and
Never The Rainbow – Hammond and pacey start to this one. Yippee. It is also
Heather on vocals and it has to be said I quite like hearing her work out on
something with a bit of meat on it. This is my favourite so far. Oh there is
even a nice Hammond solo. Excellent. Then some guitar. A very nice work out
all round. A long fade out ending shame. I could handle this being longer
Shrinking Violet – I think this starts with recorder or whistles and Heather
is on vocals again. She is definitely getting more solos on this album. And
she is being used less in unison with Bryan. This one is by Heather again herself.
I rather like this one. It is another building up track and there is a multi-person
backing vocal line. About half way through they seem to quote a Whiter Shade
of Pale on the Organ sound. Then there is a guitar solo with lots of "Ah
ah ahh’s" which rather baffled me when I first heard it but I really like
it now. Mmm that is interesting hearing this one now I really remember seeing
and enjoying this one live on Saturday. It is a lengthy but not over powering
solo from Bryan. Another excellent song and contender for my favourite on the
Helms Deep – Windy moors and acoustic guitar. The Bodhran is back and this
one is a work out for Angela on the Flute. Again I really like this one. There
are also whistles in the mix too. In the middle we get an organ solo and the
sound of horses and fighting with Spanish bagpipes by Albert DannenMann who
supported Blackmore’s Night in addition to Mostly Autumn. Bryan writes this
one but he is not really visible until the end stage. To end we get a few notes
on the Piano
Which Wood? – Another Flute piece. I believe from the Blackmore’s night tour
and written by Flautist Angela Goldthorpe. Another one I really took a liking
to. Even when I saw them the first time on the Blackmore’s Night tour. I guess
this is a Jig or Medieval folk type tune.
Mother Nature – This is the 12-minute closer. It of course starts gently with
acoustic guitar and some flute. Bryan and Heather sing and I initially thought
it was a 50-50 split but as it progresses I am convinced it is more the usual
60-40. The Chorus really has me hooked on this one. By the 2nd chorus things
are building in intensity and then the band just break in in full. Bryan gets
a line or to alone while the backing line "ah". The Hammond rumbles
and there is then a guitar solo. Mmm can guitar rubble like a Hammond? It sounds
that way again but goes to a guitar solo. A storm then develops and we get lots
of wind and thunder and the band give it a bit more welly even though it is
still only acoustic guitar. The storm dies down and there are some "Oh’s"
and "Ah’s" then a nice keyboard solo. There is definitely Hammond
going on too. Then there is some "Wish you were here" type guitar,
which then gets added to by some distorted guitar holding long notes and then
things fade into the wind. Another excellent track.
So lets see. I like the first proper track and then tend to get a bit restless
and then the album picks up for me again on the 2nd half. Just like "The
Sprit Of Autumn Past" how weird. It would seem they are following a certain
pattern in the layout of the songs and one that leaves a hard rocker like myself
slightly frustrated. Some tracks just exist but others really draw me in and
ensure I will by future releases on release. As I proof read these reviews I
listened to the album and I wondered if I was to hard on the first half of the
album. I certainly enjoy it just not so much on a track by track level.
I expected to miss the violin and I guess to a certain extent I do but I am
still able to fully enjoy what I hear. I certainly love the Flute pieces too.
It is very interesting how Heather is become more prominent in the band. I
wonder how things will progress on the next album. I certainly looking forward
to hearing it is being worked on.
In the mean time I look forward to the DVD from Saturday and quite fancy seeing
them live again.
Mostly Autumn – The Story So Far
This was recorded live at the Mean Fiddler, London (Formerly the LA 2). The
sound is identical to the DVD of the same name but there are fewer tracks, as
this is just a single CD. The track selection and the overall performance make
this an excellent starter for beginners to Mostly Autumn. It is perhaps heavier
representation of their material since the albums tend to have a few jigs and
quieter tracks on them.
Porcupine Rain from For All We Shared opens the set. It gently comes in with
some repeating downward arpeggios on the guitar. Bryan and Heather then opens
the vocals. I would say there is pretty much of equal split between Bryan and
Heather�s level in the mix on this album were as on the original version it
was a definite bias to Bryan. The �No more pain … Now, No more tears …now.�
Chorus always catches me out, as there is a beat between the line and the now.
That quite appeals to me, as it is less obvious. It is a good opener although
not and out and out thriller.
The band go straight into Nowhere to Hide again from the first album. Without
looking at the titles people are more likely to think it is "I don’t want
to close my eyes". On the original album I felt this had a strong ELO feel
to it. But with no Violin in the band it is down to Iain on keyboards to carry
the riff that made me feel that way. He is actually quite well down in the mix
so I suspect the song feels quite different now. I think I prefer this version
if I am honest and the original felt a bit too addictive perhaps sugary.
Evergreen is from the Spirit Of Autumn Past and is one of my favourites. This
is a Heather song. There are some nice keyboards in this. The pace of this starts
slow and gradually builds up. I have just seen this one done acoustically and
it works really well in even in that format which is always a sign of a good
song. Having the Electric guitar in it that makes this even stronger. Towards
the end Bryan comes in with "the river keeps on flowing but the banks are
ever changing" and then it is time for an excellent solo from Bryan. The
pace is also turned up a notch halfway through. Excellent stuff.
A couple of songs from the original set are dropped and we move onto the title
track of The Spirit Of Autumn. Past 2 to give it it�s full title. Bryan is the
main vocalist on this one. He sings "In the breeze I take a deep breath"
which he then does and I really like that. In Nowhere To Hide he sings "Seconds
are stretching into years" and he stretches the stretching. So Bryan obviously
likes to get his emotions across directly. I suppose it might annoy some people
but it works for me. This is another of my favourite songs. It is a pretty laid
back start with a drum rhythm intro. Bryan�s vocal then starts and then after
the breath the acoustic guitar is added. Both Liam and Heather are playing the
accoustics in this song. At the chorus it builds up again with keyboards add
and then Bryan electric�s guitar comes in. After the chourus it is back just
the acoustics. Towards the end Angela adds some flute. There is another chorus
and then some nice keyboards from Iain. Mmm that’s strange I thought there was
a guitar end on this but in this version it is just everybody exchanging lines.
Heroes Never Die again from the first album but more like the remade version
on the Prints In The Stone single. This is dedicated to Bryan�s dad as usual.
Bryan starts with a few doodles on his guitar and then Angie tries to make us
weep (as she says on the DVD) with the flute. Bryan starts the vocal alone but
Heather soon joins him but she is definitely kept at backing levels on this
one. As usual the song builds up as it goes along. About halfway through there
is some the song kicks in and there is a really dirty/bassy keyboard sound.
This doesn’t really work as it just sounds like distortion or something. It
didn’t register it when watching the DVD (although it is there) but it is really
noticeable on when you haven’t got visual distractions. It is the end part of
the song, which makes it a classic. All of the band members that I have spoken
to seem to find this the highlight of the set most nights.
At the gig there were two set and The Night Sky from the first album opened
the 2nd set. Keyboards kick this off with sounds of the sea that I suspect has
been added in after. Heather and Bryan sing joint vocals and then there is some
nice flute from Angie. It is only really halfway through that the keyboard drop
out and the drums come in. There are some nice little Moog type whistles from
Iain in this one and then Bryan kicks in with the solo that made me want to
check out Mostly Autumn when I heard the song on a sampler disc. It is excellent
stuff. I probably prefer the 2nd of this to Heroes. The first half I am still
more cautious about.
Dark Before The Dawn from the Last Bright Light is an interesting choice of
song. I don’t really remember anything about it from the title. This one has
hints of the Who with it’s keyboard rhythms. I really like Angie and Heathers
flutes and Whistles on this. Bryan is the main singer although there are a few
Ah’s from the girls. I then feel there should be a scream as Bryan’s guitar
kicks in for a solo. I don’t know if I imagine it on the original but I always
add it in my head now. It’s a good track especially since it is not an obvious
favourite of mine.
Shrinking Violet from the Last Bright Light is one that has really grown on
my lately and is one of my favourites now. Heather sings but is also on Whistle
along with Angie who add’s backing vocals too. This again builds up as it goes
along. The guitar from Bryan on this is really tasteful. This is such an excellent
tune and performance. I see in my albums review for this song this performance
is where my interest for the song really started to grow.
We lose another jig and move straight onto the out and out thumper Never The
Rainbow from the Last Bright Light. My daughters heard this one day and amazed
me by asking for a copy of it. They really made my day. I don’t often get chance
to influence there taste in music. Heather feels this one is hard to sing live
as the rest of the band risk drowning her out but you can’t tell. Iain gets
a rare keyboard solo on this. A nice bit of Hammond. And of course there is
some great guitar from Bryan. Another excellent track.
To end the official set on the night and end this album we get Mother Nature
from the Last Bright Light. This is another gentle starting song with a biggish
middle and reasonable sized ending. It is interesting how I overlook the roles
of Iain on Keyboards and Liam on 2nd guitar. They can clearly be heard on this.
It is another joint vocal from Bryan and Heather and this time they have three
backing singers too. At the gig there was no Thunder on the middle section and
I am glad to see it has been added in on post production. It is an important
part of the song to me. It is a shame Iain isn’t able to trigger that somehow.
Iain gets a solo in this one too. I must admit I hadn’t spotted it before. I
guess because it is part of the piece rather than an adlib. This is a very nice
combination of arpeggios from Bryan and I assume Iain unless it is an effect
near the end. Another classic song.
There isn’t a weak track on this album and sometimes I feel the sound and performances
are so good it could have been done in the studio. I suspect someone with a
more musical ear might disagree but I certainly can’t hear any faults. I recommend
this to anyone that loves classic guitar playing and great performances. I hope
this really catapults the band to another level like Kiss Alive did for Kiss
When I interviewed the band in August the plans for the next album were to
re-record some tracks for an anthology in October or so and then record a forth
album early 2002. Instead what happened was it was put to them that they should
produce some music based on Lord Of The Rings in a spare fortnight they had.
On previous albums had already written �Helm’s Deep� and �Out Of The Inn� based
on �Lord Of The Rings� so this wasn’t an unreasonable suggestion and the record
company’s sister company were producing a documentary on the Tolkien so it all
made sense. So here we have not exactly the fourth album but an intermediate
release. Material that has already been written the forth album was not used
and everything here except the remakes just mentioned were written freshly for
My instinct after playing the album for a couple of weeks are that it isn’t
the strongest album they have made but it is a good addition until the new album
is made. Weather that will change after I go through it track by track remains
to be seen.
Overture – Forge Of Sauron – The album starts with hand drums and then a scream
from Bryan. This builds and builds until there is a crash of lightning and the
drums then go to standard rock format and the flute and possibly recorders take
the main riff. There is a very distorted voice saying "One ring to find
them all" etc. There are some strange chords used at the end of the track.
I must ask about them some time. I quite like this track.
Greenwood The Great – This is a Heather vocal track with acoustic guitar backing
and some Violin. For the first half it is very gentle and in the vain of �Eyes
Of The Forest� from the last album. Halfway though we then get the end theme
of the previous track. Then suddenly we some classic Gilmore style soloing from
Bryan. This represents the creatures of Sauron arriving and disturbing the peace
of the forest. Without that knowledge you wonder why the song is this way but
with the knowledge it all makes sense. I feel the track needs some kind of video.
I know some of the music is used in the Tolkien video and I wonder if this is
one of the tracks. I can’t see that they would have the space to do it justice
but it is definitely soundtrack designed to me. A good track all the same.
Goodbye Alone – This starts with a Piano intro from Iain for about 40 seconds
then there is a pause and the track proper begins. The first time I heard it
within 2 minutes I instantly took a liking it this one. Without a doubt this
is my favourite track on the album and I see it has been released (without the
Piano intro) as the single for the album. Throughout the main part of the track
there is a pattern that reminds me of the rain in the Disney song "April
showers". This really hooks my brain. There is excellent violin and flute
with acoustic backing at the start. Then Bryan sings about Frodo’s feelings
to his comfy home in the Shire. Heather joins in on the last verse and the violin
and the flute both continue in the later vocal sections. This track works for
me on so many levels it is head and shoulder above the rest of the album for
me. I having a feeling I am downgrading the rest of the album based on it but
I will see shortly. After the verse finishes we get some more clean guitar from
Bryan. This builds in power and then the drums join in. My only complaint about
this track is it fades at the end. I want more solo and a proper ending. This
is very minor though and I guess I am just greedy.
Out Of The Inn – Is a remake of the track from the first album. I am so familiar
with the track live now there is nothing fresh in it for me and it slightly
annoys me that it comes on next. I suppose once the whole album is no longer
"new" to me it will fit OK but I don’t tend to like new and old material
mixed on albums. This track is in the main film part of �The Story So Far� but
didn’t make the CD of it so it is not unreasonable to add it to the album especially
as it is �Lord Of The Rings� inspired and there is no Violin in this version.
Also of course it is a cracking track.
On The Wings Of Gwaihir – Drums start this track, which has a very strong Pink
Floyd feel to it. There are whooshing keyboards and acoustic guitars. It then
moves to a bit of organ. The main guitar uses a lot of echo. For the last 90
seconds Bryan then takes it up a gear again. I quite like this instrumental.
At Last To Rivendell – The party of travellers are now at the last friendly
house in their journey and this instrumental is the bands idea of what might
be played during the meal. It is very clearly influenced by the kind of music
�Blackmore’s Night� play. It is a nice tune that gradually builds in speed as
the song progresses. It actually starts with a kind of music box feel to it.
Journey’s Thought – We have a nice atmospheric start, which again reminds me
of Floyd. Bryan then starts singing and again I was going to say in a Gilmore
style but it actually reminds me more of a John Cale song on his �Paris 1919�.
It is a rather breathy vocal. There are some nice keyboards from Iain to end
the piece. Another quite laidback track hence my impression this album doesn’t
quiet hit the peaks I like but I like this track.
Caradhras The Cruel – Whoops someone cocked up the mastering on this CD. This
track was supposed to whoosh from the previous track into this one bit there
is a Pre-track 2seconds gap spoiling it. This is a rather heavy track with distorted
vocals from Bryan. Heather also adds her voice as a beautiful counterpart. There
is then a small guitar break and some more Heather, then it is over, a mere
2 and a half minutes. Again very enjoyable but I want more.
The Riders Of Rohan – A Piano intro starts this one. It reminds me of Magnum
or Marillion. This is a Heather songs. Bryan does add some minor backing. Actually
this is more of an Iain song as he wrote it and he has a very busy main line
through out the song. It is lowered in the mix for the 2nd half but it is nice
to hear him playing something a bit more complex.
Lothlorien is a rare female character in �Lord Of The Rings� and Heather and
this track express her beauty rather well. The track is completely acoustic
with just some acoustic guitar and flute.
The Return Of The King – I first heard this track as the opener of the live
set. It stuck me as most unlike Mostly Autumn at the time. I guess it still
is a little heavy by their standards but it is one of my favourites on the album.
Or it would be if it didn’t end on a fade. Having heard it live I know there
can be a proper ending. Now listening to this I keep thinking it will fade even
when we have only just started the song. I guess it doesn’t help that the song
is relatively short at 3.18. I am curious to hear it live again now to find
out how long it is there and weather it had become more crafted.
To The Grey Havens – This is a gentle atmospheric track that just kind of exists
to me. It doesn’t seem like an album ending but then it is about Gandalf and
Bilbo Baggins dying and going to Heaven.
Helm’s Deep is also on the disc as a bonus Video track. The footage is basically
the bonus track from the Story So Far DVD with some illustrations also inter-cut.
The artwork on the album is rather nice and by the Brothers Hildebrandt so I
assume the video pictures are also by them.
So overall I like the album a lot but I feel a couple of song could well have
been extended and added to if the band had had more time. A couple of tracks
also feel like soundtrack tracks which, as a rule of thumb won�t work for me.
�Goodbye Alone� is a fantastic track and it would have been nice to get another
2 or three tracks of that quality but overall I like the album and am very pleased
it was released. I am slightly disappointed at Classic Rock Legend�s quality
control letting the mastering mistake get through but they are not the first
or I am sure the last to have this problem. Hopefully this disc will sell out
and there this will corrected for future pressings.