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Here arrives a pivotal release in the long history of British prog-rockers Mostly Autumn. Some would say it's crunch time for the York based band as it's the first release since the departure of long-time vocalist, and main man Bryan Josh's songwriting partner, Heather Findlay earlier this year. I would actually say otherwise seeing as Josh's songwriting talents remain and Findlay's replacement is Olivia Sparnenn who has been the band's backing vocalist since 2005 and occasionally assumed the role of frontwoman for various shows when Findlay has been absent. So 'Go Well Diamond Heart', at least from my perspective, is more straightforwardly the next release in a canon of work that has seen Mostly Autumn amass a large and loyal following over the past twelve or so years. Sure, Findlay will be missed by some, but Sparnenn's vocal performance here is stunning on an album that sees the band evolve into discernibly newer musical territories whilst maintaining the core sound for which they've become associated and loved all these years. Thus the 70s prog and rock influences are still audible in the songs but have a more contemporary feel than perhaps on any previous release. Opener 'For All We Shared' provides a neat 'in' to the album with a slow build-up of instrumentation over nearly three minutes that oozes epic atmosphere in its quasi-dark essence before Josh sings the opening lines which is swiftly followed by Sparnenn's vocals as drums are also introduced to the mix. So, for anyone worried about a post-Findlay Mostly Autumn, fear not as this is the band on fine form from the off, and one that is sustained throughout - both compositionally, and performance/production-wise. The band's perennial Floyd influence remains present through Josh's Gilmour-inspired style of soloing (which is as good here as it has ever been) and also with the album's title track in its intro with overtones of 'One of These Days'. Would a Mostly Autumn album be a Mostly Autumn album without an inter-musical Floyd reference?! Josh also delivers his best vocals to date. Overall, whether this is regarded as a pivotal album or not in the band's career, 'Go Well Diamond Heart' is, quite simply, the best I've ever heard Mostly Autumn and should see them increase their fan base as well as please the already established one. A band who have gone from strength to strength and continue to do so with his latest release. Fantastic stuff.
Mostly Autumn Records
Review by Mark Holmes
1st Nov 2010
1) For All We Shared
2) Violet Skies
3) Deep in Borrowdale
4) Something Better
5) Go Well Diamond Heart
6) Back To Life
7) Hold the Sun
8) And When the War is Over...
"A band who have gone from strength to strength and continue to do so with his latest release."