(updated 15 July 2001) The third album from the York-based
Celtic-progressive crossover band Mostly Autumn is entitled The
Last Bright Light (Cyclops (UK) CYCL 100, 2001). The album
significantly develops the band's progressive sound especially when
compared to the Celtic flavours of their first two ablums
once again the vocals are dominated by Bryan Josh, Heather
Findlay--winner of the 1999 Classic Rock Society coveted Best Female
Vocalist Award--sings lead on two of the album's tracks. Mostly
Autumn and Karnataka (review)
will headline together at the HLC Rotherham in a CRS gig on 12 May
Mostly Autumn is Bryan Josh (guitars, vocals), Heather
Findlay (lead and background vocals, bodhran, tambourine, bells),
Iain Jennings (keyboards, synthesizers, hammond organ, backing
vocals), Liam Davison (guitars, vocals), Angela Goldthorpe (flute,
recorders, backing vocals), Andy Smith (bass) and Jonathan Blackmore
(drums). A variety of guest artists, including Troy Donockley (Iona),
have contributed to the album. The lineup is currently touring
Mostly Autumn's development is immediately recognisable
in the moody REM-like track "We Come And We Go" sung by Bryan Josh.
Lush arrangements with lead guitar supported by Hammond organ in the
chorus have tremendous depth. The first standout track of the album
is "The Dark Before The Dawn," a dynamic rocker with thick
guitar, Hammond organ and Pink Floyd-style vocals blending to
create a progressive masterwork. The contrast between the progressive
verse and Celtic style chorus--dominated by flute--works extremely
The album's ballads are sung alternatively by Bryan Josh
and Heather Findlay. The arrangements in "Half The Mountain" develop
symphonically with keyboards and flute carrying the instrumental
bridge. Heather sings the gentle tune "The Eyes Of The Forest."
Light guitars underscore a sweet and sensually sung vocal lines
whilst a flute melody dominates the instrumental passages between
them on the former. Heather also sings "Hollow," a gentle ballad
supported by light guitar and keyboard. Her vocal line soars well
above the instrumentals illustrating the range and power that won
her the CRS award as their Best Female Vocalist in 1999.
Bryan Josh sings the title track, a lovely
ballad--supported primarily by deep orchestral keyboards,
a male choir and light guitar--that develops into a progressive
rocker backed by Hammond organ and guitar. "Helms Deep" is an
Iona-progressive-styled Celtic instrumental featuring Troy
Donockley's low whistle melody that, aside from the Hammond
organ solo and electric guitar riffs, harkens the listener back
to the sound of the band's prior albums. The Celtic flute melody
of "Which Wood?" perfectly compliments the instrumental that
"Never The Rainbow" is the second standout track of the
album. An upbeat progressive rocker written by Iain Jennings and
Heather Findlay and featuring her soaring and evocatively sung lead,
the track draws the listener in further with every chorus. It must
be fantastic to hear performed in a live setting. The low
whistle part by Troy Donockley in "Prints In The Stone" is especially
enjoyable and compliments Bryan Josh's lead and Heather Findlay's
backing vocal quite well. The progressive epic "Shrinking Violet,"
sweetly sung by Heather builds dramatically in its conclusion.
The concluding progressive epic--"Mother Nature"--begins gently
with a light acoustic-oriented ballad sung by Bryan and Heather
as a duet. Thickening instrumental and vocal arrangements and
lovely instrumental solos highlight the members' virtuousity as
the track to a close.
Whilst the soundbites on the band's website have not been
updated to include excerpts from the new album, you'll find a suitable
introduction to the band, biography and tour information online.
Mostly Autumn's latest album is available from many retail and online
outlets and is certainly one to be explored further. Worth a
trans-Atlantic journey we're certain that you'll agree The Last
Bright Light is a must listen!