Mostly Autumn - That Night in Leamington Album Review16 Aug 2011
The record opens with 'Finding Colours', a vocal on its own, without music, which is quite mystical, almost like a Kate Bush vocal. Then a beat comes in, and the crowd begins to cheer. The album was recorded live, in April 2010, at The Assembly in Leamington Spa. The concert was a last hurrah for Heather Findlay, who was leaving the band.
The style of music feels very theatrical, very '80's rock; all clichéd guitar, and high drama. The vocals are powerful, in that very 'power rock' style, and while it feels a little dated, the crowd are clearly having a wonderful experience, and can be heard in the background, bubbling away, with cheers. The second track has an uplifting, defiant vocal, which can only really be described by a nodding of the head in time to the music, if you'll imagine that I'm doing that. 'Caught in the Fold' makes you want to move, and wrinkle your nose in response to the pounding beat.
The second track has an uplifting, defiant vocal, which can only really be described by a nodding of the head in time to the music, if you'll imagine that I'm doing that. 'Caught in the Fold' makes you want to move, and wrinkle your nose in response to the pounding beat.
In between the second and third tracks there's a break for interaction with the audience, and in response to a voice down the microphone, which I'm pretty sure is Heather Findlay, saying; 'Wow, you sound great', and a moment's expectant pause, there are forthcoming, dutiful cries from the audience of; 'So do you'. She tells the audience that the next track, 'Flowers for Guns' is 'something new', and it does definitely feel more current, and it lifts the weight of the previous tracks. With two female vocals, and a much more cheerful, infectious rhythm, it has a distinctly Fleetwood Mac feel to it. While it feels current, inasmuch as it loses the heavy '80's sound of the initial songs, it has a certain '60's/'70's lightness and insouciance, which definitely fit's the title; 'Flowers for Guns'.
The band on this occasion (in their words; 'on that night') was eight-strong, and that gives the tracks a depth, a certain feeling that there are a lot of people; individual musicians, and singers, behind what you're hearing, which in fact is true.
'The Spirit of Autumn Past (Part II)' is the first track with a male vocal, and is strangely un-dateable. The voice is quite contemporary, with a trendy gruffness, but when coupled with the instrumental, it creates a distinctly '90's sound. A sort of Toploader-Beautiful South incarnation. Some tracks, such as; 'Winter Mountain' have a much heavier instrumental, akin to the metal bands of the last decade, even the vocal.
The atmosphere you hear conveys a sense of a really loyal following; fans who know each song by the first few notes, and it seems that Mostly Autumn really give them what they want. The band-audience relationship feels really loving, intimate, and satisfying in both directions.
The album ends with 'A Farewell from Heather', which expresses this mutual admiration, and close relationship between fans and band, in an emotional, genuinely intimate goodbye, although it is filled with positive dynamism for continuing with the future. She says she knows she couldn't be leaving them in better hands, referring to the rest of the band.
The album is strange, and jumps around between time periods, but the level of musicianship and quality of music makes it great to listen to.