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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 3 June 2014
Mostly Autumn are often a band that polarises opinions. Well, I'm on the "love 'em" side. There may follow a review of such spectacular one-sided sycophancy that even the band themselves will probably feel a little queasy.

This album is the third release since Olivia Sparnen took on the role of female vocalist (blimey, where did the time go?) and my impression is that in term of consistently it's the best of the three. For me, it might not contain tracks such as Wild Eyed Skies that stick instantly in the memory (although Saturday Night is growing on me), but taken as a whole, it beats the others as a work of consistent quality from beginning to end. And this is an album to be taken as a whole (a positive about a long commute to work). Bryan Josh's oft-criticised vocals take something of a back seat to a great performance from Olivia Sparnenn, but I reckon the vocal contributions he does make are arguably his most accomplished yet.

There seems to be a change in sound... I've seen comments about Bryan Josh's guitar work being to the fore once again, but for me there's a more balanced sound that brings out other contributions to a far greater extent than may have been the case with some previous albums: specifically, I find myself noticing the keyboard parts a lot more. Whatever, the album retains the trademark Mostly Autumn enthusiasm and ambition to give something a go, record it, and let the listeners judge for themselves.

There. I managed to talk about a Mostly Autumn album without mentioning drummers or Heather Findlay once...

Damn! Look what I just did.
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on 4 June 2014
I put Mostly Autumn in the same bracket as Panic Room (and Anne-Marie Helder of PR appears on this offering) - not quite progressive rock but music that prog fans will enjoy.

Dressed in Voices is a huge departure from its predecessor, Ghost Moon Orchestra. For a start, it has a much darker tone and theme to it. The story - which runs throughout all the tracks - seems to centre on a murder and the impact that the murder has not only on the victim, but on others, too, including the perpatrator. Dark stuff, indeed. Musically, this could have made for something really morbid, but the band avoids that quite successfully, imo. At the same time, we're not talking upbeat techno dance beats, either.

Bryan Josh's vocals are not so dominant and - sorry Mr Josh - the album benefits from that. Instead, they are used much more effectively here to provide light and shade. Olivia Sparnen has a lovely voice, and it's used to great effect on a record like this. Piano is much more to the fore, and there is some lovely guitar work, too. Again, the band appear to have found a much better balance for all its components to share the limelight.

It's an album that will benefit from a number of listenings. Its narrative approach means that the songs need to be listened to as a whole in order to get the most impact. I was very pleasantly surprised by Dressed in Voices. I like Mostly Autumn, but this, I feel, is a step above their other offerings.
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on 7 June 2014
I have been listening to MA for only about two years and I am a massive fan. I now have all of their albums and I have seen them live twice. They are astounding.

In spite of their relentless touring and changes in personnel, this excellent album has appeared less than 24 months after its predecessor. Both its predecessor, 'The Ghost Moon Orchestra', and this album are among their best work along with their earliest albums, which are different musically.

Yes, it does need to be listened to as a whole. Yes it is about losing one's life by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes it is about time standing still so that we can look at the life of the victim. At times, it feels a little bit like an extended requiem for the loss of loved ones (especially dads) but it is as ultimately uplifting as the best of their work. And, somehow, two very different vocalists narrating the same story works.

It is powerful, passionate, emotional, moving, melodic and superbly played. There is a strong spiritual aspect to it. Bryan's guitar playing is as big a highlight as always (although I seem to have missed an all out belter of a guitar solo from this album like the one on, for example 'Tennyson Mansion'. I think his vocals are effective. Olivia sounds great as ever. I think that Ian Jennings has done an amazing job on the keyboards. There is range of musical styles, more so than ever before.

It's a brilliant album, and Bryan Josh is one clever, talented guy.
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on 4 June 2014
I agree with the previous comments regarding Dressed in Voices. This is a dark wistful and powerful album and is best listened to in its entirety. In Olivia Sparnenn-Josh Mostly Autumn have an exceptional vocalist. She is equally comfortable in soft acoustic songs or soaring above the instruments in rock ballads. In many of these numbers she does both in the same song! Bryan's voice is also in fine form and his Pink Floyd-esque guitar a joy as ever. A special mention too to Ian on keyboards. I'm relatively new to Mostly Autumn and am still working through their extensive back catalogue but think this album will take it's place amongst their best work.
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on 22 October 2014
Being a relatively new fan of MA, I bought this album not really knowing what to expect, as I'd heard that it was quite different to their older stuff, which I love - especially Evergreen, The Last Climb, Mother Nature, Heroes Never Die etc etc, ALL AMAZING !! I've listened to Dressed In Voices 3 or 4 times now, and I like it very much. It is different in that it's almost like one long track, telling a story. I'm sure I'll get to like it even more when I've played it more.

I went to see them in Islington a few weeks back and they were great, shame about the sound system though ! There were only a couple of hundred people there, which is ridiculous as they are so brilliant. Probably the most underated band in the country ! Looking forward to seeing Olivia & Bryan with Steve Hackett at The Apollo on Nov 1st :-)
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on 5 August 2014
Love it. Deserves all the praise it seems to be getting here. Macabre theme but don't let that put you off. I have only just belatedly discovered Mostly Autumn - how did I manage that when I like rock music well composed with strong lyrics well sung and performed? Dressed in Voices is a haunting but very pleasing album. I would thoroughly recommend this musical treat to anyone. I instantly liked it from first play and still more since. Also I recently bought the 'Pass the Clock' collection as an introduction to this changing group's back catalogue which is good but is taking a bit more time to grow on me.
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on 14 June 2014
THIS IS YET another classic piece of music by Bryan Josh. AND the rest of the group. A SUPERBLY put together story and music adventure. I CANT really say which track is the most powerful either vocal wise or where some the tracks break off into their instrumental parts. IT DEPENDS upon my emotional and mood swings as each track seems to get better in different ways. MOST STANDOUT TRACKS TO ME ARE SKIN ON SKIN GOING INTO HOUSE ON THE HILL, AND THE LIBRARY. LIKE I have said there is not one weak track on this brilliant cd. DONT put Bryans' singing quality down follow the lyrics and sequence of singing with the guitar work and that shows how good he is. JUST been to Bilston (THE ROBIN 2,had 2 mention the venue because ive been going for two years and cant fault that either) to see the concert and it was brilliant. THANKS guys and OLIVIA for yet another superb cd.
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on 29 May 2015
Mostly Autumn sometime produce albums that are patchy with some so-so tracks along with a couple of ones that I find to be fantastic. Takeas an example their 2005 Storm Over Still Waters with its brilliant title track.
Anyway, my point is this album is remarkable in that, while the subject matter is dark, it is very good and very consistent throughout. It is also arguable one of their most original albums as well.
Well done to the band!
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on 31 August 2014
This is just such a great album, Olivia has really nailed the vocals and the music is just a good as ever. Any real fans of MA will apprecaite this album & what it stands for.
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on 15 August 2014
This is more a nice CD of this great band. There is a strong presence as the folk, rock but still concise and well done. Some melancholy tracks with category and appreciable. The instrumental band remains an important mark of Mostly Autumn at this stage with Olivia and vocal style changed a bit, but still willingly. Very nice. Note 8.
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