Mostly Autumn, The New Era

Olivia Sparnenn at Bury Mey

Anyone who’s not being going to Mostly Autumn gigs since Heather Findlay left the band in April really doesn’t know what they’re missing. Admittedly a lot of people had reason to be sceptical; few bands manage to survive the loss of a singer, and those that manage the transition the best are those that use it as an opportunity to re-invent themselves.

At Olivia Sparnenn’s first gig as lead singer, in Gloucester, just over a week since Heather’s tearful farewell gig, we saw the new-look Mostly Autumn hit the ground running. Manchester a couple of weeks later saw a great (if very loud) gig. And Saturday’s performance at Bury Met was better still. Livvy has grown in confidence as the tour has progressed.

Although nothing from the forthcoming album “Go Well-Diamond Heart” has been premièred live yet, we’ve still seen a major shakeup of the setlist. Gone are most of Heather’s deeply personal songs such as “Shrinking Violet” and “Unoriginal Sin”. We’ve seen the welcome return of some oldies such as “Out of the Green Sky”, which I’d always thought would suit Livvy’s voice, and a great new arrangement of “Dreaming”. They’ve also brought in a couple of Livvy’s own songs originally recorded with Breathing Space, including a version of “Questioning Eyes”, which fits the MA set far better that I expected, as well as “Slow Down” from Bryan’s solo album. It’s also great to see the return of Liam Davidson’s effects-drenched solo spot, particularly good at Bury; it makes you realise how great a guitarist he can be.

The end result is a rawer, rockier sound that sounds like the beginning of a completely new band. It’s now making me really look forward to the album, to see what the new-look band is capable of doing in the studio.

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2 Responses to Mostly Autumn, The New Era

  1. Serdar says:

    Fantastic-looking singer. For some reason I’m reminded of when Jarboe joined the Swans and added new (and fascinating) dimensions to their own music as well.

  2. sheena doran says:

    Although I never caught M.A. live with Heather, I always felt from the albums that no one could replace Heathers unique voice, but I was not in the least dissapointed when I heard and saw Livvy with M.A. as she too has an exceptional and unique voice, I felt she fitted in like she had always been singing the lead, I love the way she is so cool and confident on stage, whilst all around her is a fury of guitars, drums, keyboards and flute, she looks really comfortable with the band, bringing her own charm and stunning looks, her voice is excellent with Bryans too, the chemistry is most definitely there, looking forward to thier new material and future gigs.