The Passengers will be the new album of Mostly Autumn, expected release date 21 July
2003. 3.000 special editions will be delivered in May.
Almost two years after their "last studio" and fantastic album The Last Bright Light.
The last two days i heard again 6 great albums of them and i wondered what went
Why aren't they wellknown by a bigger audience?!? I seldom heard such nice music at this high
level, great symphonic music, with a Celtic edge, floydian fundations, walls of great
musicianship, a roof that reach to the stars (and back), nice harmonies, great vocals.
Music from a proggy heart, songs about live... Hope they follow their own way (and don't
get commercial) and return safe and sincere at the The Lion Inn.
And i finally i came to the conclussion; nothing went wrong .... Heroes Never Die.
By Executive Producer
To judge from the air of anticipation among the fan base, "Passengers" can't come a moment too
soon. It has been a long time since the "Last Bright Light", but in that time the band has
improved immeasurably, both in the studio and live on stage, so in theory the longish gap
should really help to produce a really special album. I think that will prove to be the case.
We took a decision long ago , that all of the planning and discussions between the label and the band should held wherever during long walks in the landscape that inspired it all. So as we tramped our way round the Lakes, The Cotswolds and the Derbyshire Peaks Bryan gradually unveiled his vision for the new album ,it was interesting to watch Mr Josh progress from enthusiasm to visible excitement as the ideas began to make shape.
The concept for "Passengers" is very loosely based on Bryan's personal vision of the process of rebirth and renewal. It was also, at least partially, inspired by a strange set of coincidences involving the number 3 falling in patterns of 3.Bryan interpreted this as a series if indicators showing the way forward.
As we slowly ate up the miles to the next good Inn Bryan would gradually unfold a little more of the concept and also the increasing number of unusual coincidences like waking with a new song ready formed in his head to find digital clocks showing exactly 3.33.
I have to say I liked the theme for the album right from the outset , and I will always cherish the memory of a beautiful summers day walking through Oversley Wood with Bryan and Heather as they painted more flesh on the bones, the grand cosmic design obviously afforded some fantastic musical opportunities, clearly this was not going to be an ordinary album.... I was less moved by all the stuff about the three's though.
At the time, Bryan felt the moment had come to find an outside producer and a whole range of names from Pip Williams [Nick added: worked with soul artist in 70-ies and with Alex Harvey, Status Quo, Moody Blues (80-ies)] and later with Uriah Heep and on the Story so Far, Mostly Autumn), to Alan Parsons were thrown around. I have to say this did concern me. No disrespect to the men who have produced some of the biggest selling albums in rock, but Mostly Autumn is a rare and delicate treasure. It has grown and flowered against the tide of musical fashion. There is an organic and natural quality to this band which can't be hurried or moulded, my concern was that an outside influence could easily destroy the magic in a rush to find instant commercial success. I'm happy to take the blame if it proves to be a wrong call but over a six month spell, as the ideas began to take stronger shape, Bryan gradually shifted his position. After all he hasn't done a bad job so far...
The first few rough demos were ready by October. This also coincided with the band's first ever gigs in the USA. One of my real highs from 2002 was riding in the back of a big black stretched limo from JFK to Manhattan with what seemed to be the whole band squeezed in and all of them singing the vocals to an instrumental backing track which I would later come to know as 'Something in Between ". Even in this roughest of forms it was crying out to be a single. I knew that it could make a single because of the length of the backing track...you've guessed it 3 minutes 33 seconds ......
Needless to say the band took the US by storm but having heard the new material I was beginning to share the impatience that it was now high time for "Passengers" to really take shape.
It was agreed that the real writing and arranging needed to be done in the Lakes where the band was born, so Mostly Autumn decamped to a cottage to get down to serious work with only the film crew, Chris Walkden (the official photographer) and a portable recording desk for company.
I couldn't resist sending them a postcard for good luck when I received raffle ticket #333 in the pub draw, which my wife now started calling 'Spooky" ...
At that point no studio had been booked it was clear this one needed at least two months and it looked as if the band would be recording in Chapel studios when Fairview suddenly became available. Now, song running lengths can obviously be contrived to fit a desired pattern, there's no big deal in a pub raffle either so a hard bitten cynic like me is not easily convinced, but when Clare Gambold in the Classic Rock offices took a call came from Fairview informing her that they could now fit the band in from March 3rd, even I had to take notice. When you are independently handed a start date of 03/03/03 for Passengers ; maybe it's time to go with the flow.
I'm certainly glad I did because at our next meeting in Dovedale a very excited Mr Josh proudly unveiled three new demos 'Pure White Light","Simple ways "and "Another Lullabye".I was stunned, thrilled and by the end of the second listening every bit as excited as the very excited Mr Josh. The excitement transferred to the walk which was done at twice normal speed as ideas for the rest of the album were sketched out by Bryan along with the first murmurings of a "Passengers" audio visual show which he wanted to stage in November
.At this time my patent CECD (Caledonian Excessive Cost Detector) normally kicks in and I can feign any one of a hundred sudden and severe illnesses which usually help to distract the deluded musician long enough for me hop in the car and drive to another county; but won over by the brilliance of the music I had a weird out of body experience where I was certain my brain was yelling "NO ! not in a million years, you'll be the ruin of us all" but from my disembodied vantage I could clearly see my mouth saying "Yes OK , film , lasers, costume, guest musicians, staging back projection and interpretative dance....sounds like a great idea, I'll book a Theatre" After that it was hardly any surprise when our lunch bill came to £33.30 well what else could it have been..... For those who really can't wait, it's hard to describe the music exactly. It's very much in the Mostly Autumn mode the rock is all there, the celtic echoes, the innovative use of other instruments like violin, cello, wonderful lyrics and some of the best vocal work Heather has ever produced, brilliant keyboard passages from Ian and a big epic number to finish the thing of, so the familiar elements are all there, but "Passengers" has more imediacy.It's probably a result of experience but, any lingering fuzziness has gone.
It won't be an over long long album, but then neither was Dark side of the Moon....
"Something in Between" says in three minutes what "Spirit of Autumn past" did in six and a half "."Another Lullabye" captures the essence of a song like "Evergreen" or "Shrinking Violet" and delivers the goods in a concentrated fashion with Heather reaching new heights as a vocalist and lyricist. "Pure White Light "is something like "Porcupine Rain," "Never The Rainbow" and "Winter Mountain "condensed into one...only better!
Well, that's what passengers did to me. You'll be able to judge for yourself in late May...I don't think you'll be disappointed.
By Bob Carruthers
Passengers Update 4
We are now making real progress with the album. So far three tracks (of eleven) have been completed the remaining eight are all scheduled for completion by April 30th.
A slot has been reserved at the manufacturers so hopefully we can get it into the post in time for the UK tour…..no promises but we know how much the album means to everyone so we’ll do our very best.
So what does it sound like???…well it doesn’t sound like “The Last Bright Light” that’s for sure. It’s more of a rock sound , brighter, more direct and confident than the previous offerings ; but still very much in the Mostly Autumn mode . From what I’ve heard the Pink Floyd tag should also finally be buried by the emergence of what looks like being a truly individual Mostly Autumn sound.
Today (Tuesday) saw Chris Leslie of Fairport Convention in the studio to add his exquisite violin parts to the mix. For the purists out there the celtic influences and instrumentation are all still apparent , but now woven into the fabric of the songs rather than making their presence known in the form of jigs and reels.
At the "proggy" end of the spectrum we have an epic to rival “Mother Nature” in “Pass the Clock”, Heather is singing better than ever and is particularly beautiful form on ballads like “Another Life” so hopefully Passengers will have covered the full spectrum of moods which make us all love Mostly autumn in the first place .
Over the weekend the promotional footage was shot for “Something in Between” and “Pure White Light”. Easter hols permitting , we hope to get a promotional Single with some video material out to radio stations next week, for those who really can’t wait a couple of hundred copies will be available for sale on the site. Passengers definitely marks an evolution in style . It will certainly spark debate. Inevitably some fans will feel disappointed that the band doesn’t simply repeat the same formula as per the first three studio albums. As musicians however, the band needs to progress and create new work . My own view is that Passengers marks the transition from a group which has always worn it’s influences on it’s sleeve to one with it’s own unique voice . The band is enormously excited and almost frantic to finally be able to hear the feedback from all of you. Bryan in particular feels that this is his best work of his career so far. Their belief and enthusiasm is palpable and I sincerely hope that the love and care and attention that has gone into this album strikes a chord with the supporters of the band. That’s enough from me. In just over four weeks …it’s your turn and like every one else I’m now counting down the days to hear what you have to say.
“The concept for Passengers has been with me for over a year now, and I feel strongly that the time has come to take the songs into the studio. To help with the huge costs of recording and everything that goes with it, we are offering our loyal supporters the first chance to subscribe in advance for Passengers. Those of you who were with us back then will recall that’s also how we got The Story so Far DVD off the ground.
Just as a small word of advice, The Last Bright Light, the predecessor to Passengers,
sold 3500 copies in the first week of release, and Mostly Autumn have thankfully acquired
a far larger fan base since then so I would subscribe early if you want to be sure to
get this limited edition.
Thanks for your help in getting us this far, and thanks for helping us get to the next stage. I hope you decide to join us, and that you enjoy Passengers when it arrives.
“See you on the road soon.”
Yours Always, Bryan Josh
5) Caught in a Fold
Now we rock !!!
Wonderfully melodic interlude
with a haunting vocal from Heather .Some great wandering bass from Andy.
Another huge chorus and neat vocal arrangement .
10) Answer the Question
Another moment of pure genius
here. What I can only describe as a descending glissando key change links
this excellent rock song to it's majestic predecessor. The contrast is
stunning but the transition is brilliant and still makes me smile.
My own personal favourite
destined to be the favourite for the prog rockers out there. Great opening
melody counterpointed with a neat little recorder renaissance/madrigal
section which introduces the Uilleann Pipes from Troy.
Prog-Nose: Can you
explain the difference in style on the new album compared to the
Bryan: From the outside, it can seem, there is a kind of change in style. And I guess that there is on certain songs, but all of the songs happened naturally as the other songs did. It’s just a band moving forward. It wasn’t intentional. It’s hard to see from the inside how different it is, when you’re so close to the music. It’s difficult to get an objective view on it. But it’s not as different in a way as “The Last Bright Light” was to “The Spirit Of Autumn Past”.
Heather: We didn’t intend to. Whatever Mostly Autumn has ever done, has been a feeling of the time. When you compare “Passengers” and “For All We Shared”, there’s a huge contrast. But if you carry through from the first album to the second and from the second to the third, and so on, not forgetting “The Lord Of The Rings”, that was really the bridging gap to me between “The Last Bright Light” and “Passengers”, you see the evolution. “The Anthology” was reworking some old material, so that doesn’t show a difference in styles. I don’t think there was ever an intention to make “Passengers” different. It’s just the way it came out, with heavier, darker moments. It all depends on what you’re listening to at the time. Especially if Bryan, who’s in the driving seat very much, is listening to music with darker, harder elements then that’s gonna come through, to a degree.
Prog-Nose: It sounds
more progressive, less folk? Was that
Bryan: I was more interested in kind of putting the Celtic folk angles inside the songs, more subtly than before, so the songs have a flavour of the folk, not as up front. There’s a nice underlying Celtic mood. I don’t think it’s a good idea to start playing our old folk tunes any more, because we aren’t essentially a folk band. So it was intentional.
Heather: The folk is still there. There’s never been such a complete folky song as “Bitterness Burnt”. There was never really done a vocal song before. OK, “Steal Away” on the first album was very folky, with the whistle. But it still doesn’t strike me as a folk song, while “Bitterness Burnt” is a dark, folky track. People are overlooking that.
Prog-Nose: “Caught In
A Fold” is more a Jethro Tull track?
Bryan: Heather wrote that song, actually. The song just developed. She wrote the song and then there was that really nice round of the flute. It’s only afterwards you hear that it sounds like Jethro Tull. I think an influence is somewhere inside, subconsciously, you’re not aware of it. And then things come out and they do end up sounding like something else.
Heather: Again, there’s definitely a kind of a folk stroke seventies interpretation. Bryan loves Jethro Tull, I love them, and we listened to a lot of Focus recently. I said to Angela: “We need to have that Focussy Tully kind of flute.” And eventually we came to the riff in “Caught In A Fold”. This kind of music has been in the blood, since being quite young. But hopefully we still came across quite original.
production is a lot better than the previous
Bryan: We had a lot more time and the budget was a lot bigger, because this is our first real album with the Classic Rock Label.
Prog-Nose: Heather and
the keyboards are a lot more in front on
Bryan: Heather developed a lot as a singer in the last year and a half. I mean, the potential has always been there, but she’s really coming together now. She has more power and more variation.
Heather: Yeah, my voice is developed in a big way. I’ve got a lot more confidence.
Prog-Nose: I hear Emmylou Harris in your voice, especially in “Caught In A Fold”.
Heather: Emmylou Harris, somebody said that, yeah. I don’t know Emmylou Harris. I don’t know her voice at all. Some say my voice sounds like Karen Carpenter, Joni Mittchel or Ann Wilson, somebody even compared me with Rachel Jones. (Karnataka)
Prog-Nose: There are a
lot of similarities between Mostly Autumn and Karnataka.
Heather: I thought they had gone more progressive, while we are more headed in a rock direction. Karnataka is a lot more polished. They got more of a Genesis sound with the keyboards and the rhythms.
Prog-Nose: Do you know Quecia?
Heather: No, not really, I think I’ve met Kirsty, briefly. Angela saw them in York. I know that people are comparing them to us. They are all quite young. They still have a lot of time to develop.
Thanks Danny& Janny!
THE ALBUM: THE PASSENGERS:
After hearing the album, my conclussion is that this a really nice rocking proggy album.
A remarkable good sounding album,
songs with dept and a celtic edge and big symfonic centre.
Heathers voice has grown, the band sounds as great rockband. I compared Bryan's guitar style with David Gilmour, but now he has devolleped his own Joshy style. Great!
The production of the album is perfect, clear sounds a pleasure for your speakers.
The bonus cd is a real collectors item, the band did a great job that day (as usual).
I was blown away by when i heard just a few samples of the first albums, man what was that great such a young band with a great touching sound. And I must confess this album didn't gave that exiting feeling directly... althrough it will be one of my favourites. Maybe my expectations were to high, the band is live awesome, all the pre-reviews did me expect a new Dark Side Of The Moon. But nobody has reached that level the last 30 years, so how could they? But maybe, someday, somehow ... [Note; Bob Carruthers wrote me; "it's their Atom Heart Mother....wait till you hear the next one it'll be Meddle.....the next one.................... Cheers Bob " and yes i believe this man!]
On the other hand; the album is sounding better and better each time i hear it, it grows. Heathers voice, marvelous, Josh and Heathers singing in one song is just that extra Mostly Autumn you can get, those guitar rifs of Liam & Josh with that great sounding keyboards. Ian Anderson or Thijs van Leer couldn't do with the flute what Angela did! And the drums and bass are just a perfect couple.
Afterall if you don't are familair with this band and you like symfonic rock with a celtic touch, a bit of Fleedwoodmac, 70-ies prog and Floydian-influances this album will be great. And i think you'll buy the other albums too...
Hope to see them soon , again, doing
Distance Train and i'll Pass The Clock....
Please visit their site for more reviews or just go to a shop and convince your self, that this is music with a big M.
|"Something In Between"||"Pure White Light"||"Another Life"|
|"Bitterness Burnt"||"Caught In A Fold"||"Passengers"|
|"Simple Ways"||"First Thought"||"Distant Train"|
LIVE IN SPIRIT OF 66 (June 2003):
I'm speechless again, great gig, they had fun and we too. The show started with a very floydian wind to kick off with the great opener Winter Mountain. In a different version as we're used to hear (the same as on the bonus cd). A lot of older songs came by and they played it very well. The band has grown over the years, they were great 2 years ago and a bit shy, but now, perfect playing, perfect team. Pass The Clock, Something in Between, Simple Ways and Passengers are classics already and were played if it were songs the band played for years. The first gig i saw Josh playing, i thought that he was a son of David Gilmour, now he's develloped his own Joshy style, great!
They came back for a third & fourth encore and went back to their folky roots (Helm's Deep), I think the Patriot In & Spirit Of 66 will be their favourite place to relax. It was nice to see Jean ;-) x x x
Heather "lady Galadril" and Angela stole the show frequently and the band is just a Distant Train that keeps running and can't be stopped (Hope we're the Passengers traveling with them).
It made my flesh creep a several times, the only band who got that done, a few times was Pink Floyd, so forget all the foolish things i wrote above (that the Passengers is not a DSOTM), live they're one of the top bands i've ever seen (and yes i've seen Yes, Pink Floyd, The Glimmer Twins, RPWL & Genesis). Theire music is just so fantasic, creepy, spooky; the songs keep tolling in my head.
Shrinking Violet and Mother Nature will be classic songs which can match with Welcome to The Machine, Round-a-bout, Locomotive Breathe or whatever!
And thank you Geron.
Nick at www.mostlypink.net.
The York DVD: info, pictures and how to order.
More to know about this band:
The official home page you'll find here: www.mostly-autumn.com.