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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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Sprit of Christmas Past EP Cover
Image Mostly Autumn Prod'ns 2005

More Mostly Autumn:
Storms Over Still Water
The Next Chapter
Live at The York Opera House
2004 Spring Tour
Live at The Boardwalk 2002
Live at the Classic Rock Festival 2002
Heroes Never Die
Music Inspired by Lord Of The Rings
The Last Bright Light
The Story So Far CD and DVD*
Live at the Mean Fiddler 2001
Live With Karnataka 2001
1998-2002 Album Reviews
* includes indepth interview
slide shows: 1 | 2 | 3

(26 November 2005) The Christmas single is a staple aspect of British Christmas celebrations, with huge amounts of money spent in the UK on betting upon which piece of seasonal music will be number one in the singles charts on December 25th. One single unlikely to inhabit this spot is Mostly Autumn's "Spirit of Christmas Past" EP (Mostly Autumn Productions (UK) AUT9333, 2005), though not for want of quality. Those that have seen the band live at one of their legendary Christmas concerts--either at the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge or at the Limelight club in Crewe--will agree about the warmth and humour at these shows. They are a band that revels in the joy and sentimentality of the Festive Season.

This brand new EP brings together two new pieces of music, with three well-known Christmas songs. The simple, tasteful packaging, designed by Chris Walkden, doubles as a Christmas card--a nice touch. The first song in Bryan Josh's "Spirits of Christmas Past," not a rehash of "The Spirit of Autumn Past" thankfully, but a brand new song with lyrics structured like a modern day Christmas carol. Bryan's lead vocal leaves a little to be desired, but it's a good, up-tempo song. Next up is the real highlight--Heather Findlay's "Winter is King," a stunning return to the bands Celtic-influenced sound. This features a mass of acoustic guitars, Celtic percussion and some beautiful playing from both Angela Gordon on flute and Troy Donockley on penny whistle. Just like the recent Storms Over Still Water album (review), the influence of Julianne Regan is evident in Heather's melody line and lead vocal.

Slade's perennial "Merry Christmas Everybody" features Liam Davison's legendary Noddy Holder impersonation, while "Fairytale of New York" wanders disappointingly close to impersonation of the Pogue's classic, when the band might have stamped their own character on the piece. "Silent Night," featuring Heather's warm, rich vibrato, is a delight, with a little surprise from Bryan at the end. Over all, though the production could certainly have been improved upon, this is a fine addition to both the band's output and the catalogue of great Christmas singles.--Stephen Lambe in Cheltenham, England

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