It’s been a significant year for Mostly Autumn.
Already on something of a roll with two excellent and well-received studio albums since the potentially damaging departure of much-loved vocalist Heather Findlay, the band have raised the bar still further with Dressed In Voices, the first fully realised concept album of their career.
Tonight, in the somewhat sedate and well-appointed environs of the plush Stables venue, the show is structured as it has been throughout this current tour, with a first set of back-catalogue favourites followed by a complete performance of the latest album. They then close with an encore selection, complete with Christmas-themed songs.
The Stables itself is a fully seated venue on three sides of an open stage. While this means the atmosphere the band love to feed off may be harder to generate, this conversely provides the ideal setting from which to become immersed in the Dressed In Voices story itself, with its attendant slideshow visuals. It may be somewhat un-rock’n’roll in its ambience, but this show does play to the strengths of the environment.
The first half of the set is a perfectly executed set of greatest hits, with evergreens such as, well, Evergreen and The Last Climb. They’re joined by the spellbinding Questioning Eyes, imported from Breathing Space, the former band of vocalist Olivia Sparnenn and keyboard player Iain Jennings, and it closes this set to rapturous applause.
Following this comes the real meat in the shape of Dressed In Voices itself. Telling the dark tale of a killer forced to relive the life of his victim as time stops at the scene of the murder, highlights such as the percussive tour de force during Skin On Skin, the wistfully nostalgic House On The Hill and stirring closer Box Of Tears combine to lift this into the realms of the truly extraordinary. While a Mostly Autumn show has always been enjoyable, with this tour it has become a genuine event.
With development of this show planned for 2015, this could prove to be a true watershed moment in the band’s career. Sparnenn’s cut-glass vocals have never sounded better and with driving force Bryan Josh at a creative peak, the nettle is there to be grasped.