I first encountered Mostly Autumn by chance early last year, when Bob Harris played Fading Colours from the last album Heart Full of Sky on his late night Radio 2 programme. I was only listening because I was returning home late in the car. Fading Colours blew me away. I quickly bought- and loved- Heart Full of Sky, and sought out Mostly Autumn's `none more prog' back catalogue.
Mostly Autumn are one of those bands that hardly anyone has heard of but are actually really popular. As an avid prog fan in my youth their music is reminiscent of prog's great days, but with a modern feel, and a little bit of folk thrown in. Pretty much perfect, then.
All this brings me to Glass Shadows, their 2008 release. I have a problem with it, and it is this; there is not nearly enough prog on it. In fact, we're often in the realms of glossy American-style AOR. I guess the band have made a deliberate decision to go in a different direction, but much of Glass Shadows sounds more like Fleetwood Mac than Pink Floyd (although of course, the Floyd sound makes an appearance). Don't get me wrong, the songs are well constructed, the playing is excellent, Heather's singing in particular is right on the spot, but... well, I just don't love it enough. Highlights for me are the epic title track and Tearing at the Faerytale, when I can feel the old magic, but the whole package is a little too commercial for me.
I'm still giving this four stars because compared to most new music it's still great, and I am fully aware that most people who are not hardcore old prog fand like me may well love the direction of this album, but for me Glass Shadows is not the band's finest hour.