May 2018 13

Autumn - ChandelierAutumn
Category: Goth / Rock / Darkwave
Album: Chandelier
Blurb: Returning after nearly two decades, Autumn delivers a new record that achieves the cold majesty of the past while infusing new elements to make for a triumphant new beginning.


 

It has been 18 years since Minneapolis goth/rock band Autumn has released a full-length album… long time to wait, but listening to Chandelier, this writer can say that fans of the band will find their patience to have been abundantly rewarded. From Julie Plante’s soaring and dramatic melodies, Jeff Leyda’s smooth and rolling bass lines, and Neil McKay’s aggressively ambient guitar, all the hallmarks of the Autumn sound are presented in all their darkly enticing glory. Listening to the band’s music is like walking through a cold and ghostly cathedral, the flickering wisps of candlelight providing little solace from the whispers of forgotten loves and lost memories. After nearly two decades, it would be unfair to the audience if the band didn’t employ a few new elements to enrich the music, and with the help of the great William Faith in the producer’s chair and Chad Blinman’s mastering, Chandelier delivers brilliantly as no mere reformation… no, this is a new beginning for Autumn.

As such, the opening track, “Beginnings” could not be more appropriate as McKay’s resonant guitar arpeggios enter like the tolling of wedding bells on a Sunday morning, Plante declaring with vigor and enthusiasm, “Are you ready? ‘Cuz I’m ready. C’mon, let’s go!” From here, Chandelier takes us through the twists and turns of a journey through twilit atmospheres, set to the rhythm of galloping drumbeats and Leyda’s bass. Having heard earlier demos of the song many years ago, this writer was delighted to hear “The Maiden’s Child” presented here in a finished form, on which McKay’s harrowing and crystalline guitar layers growl with the fervor of a wolf on the prowl. Other tracks follow suit, with the tribal rhythms and serpentine bass of “At Summer’s End” complemented by McKay’s ringing tones and acoustic strumming as Plante’s impassioned vocal performance carries the song to great heights of emotional release, and while “Shadowgirl II” may be a sequel to a track from the band’s second album, its dashing rhythms, Plante’s howls, and McKay’s harmonic flourishes give it more the feel of the first – a nice thematic bridge between Autumn’s varying sonic moods. Similarly, “Damage” shimmers with a lush and sparkling ambience that reminds this writer of Strange Boutique, while the title track finds Plante’s harmonious vocal layers almost dancing around the bass line.

While piano had been present on past Autumn albums, they had rarely ever been so pronounced as on tracks like the processional “Soulsong,” the mournful “Away,” and especially “Just Before the Storm,” a veritable lament to the passing of summer into the cooler grey skies and rain swept beauty of the band’s namesake. On the other hand, rarely have we heard Autumn employing more overtly electronic sounds, and for the band to do so now while still retaining an established tonal signature is impressive. Case in point, the entrancing ambience of songs like “From Under the Waves” with its staccato pads, the pulsating and dark electro of “My Last Confession,” and the hazy sustained sweeps of “White Light,” on which the guitars are sprinkled like the ashes of burnt leaves in the air. Even the simple touch of decreased reverb on the drums of “A Vow Worth Keeping” gives them more of their innately electronic vibe, with McKay’s tone on this track being its most angrily distorted; it’s a strange entry on the album, but one that once again speaks to Autumn’s willingness to evolve.

With Clovis IV also returning to provide the album’s austere visuals, as he had on the introductory “The Fall” single and The Hating Tree, there is a certain nostalgic thrill to Chandelier, a reuniting of the artistic and musical team that introduced Autumn to the world in 1997. However, the infusion of new sounds along with the refinement of the old makes Chandelier no romp through the halcyon days of a band’s past; no, this is more of a grand, majestic statement of triumphant return from a group whose talent is now given a fresh shot of wisdom, grace, and elegance. As is stated in the record’s liner notes, “We won’t break, won’t dissipate, we are here to stay.”
 
Track list:

  1. Beginnings
  2. The Maiden’s Child
  3. The Fall
  4. Soulsong
  5. At Summer’s End
  6. From Under the Waves
  7. Damage
  8. Just Before the Storm
  9. Shadowgirl II
  10. Away
  11. White Light
  12. My Last Confession
  13. A Vow Worth Keeping
  14. Chandelier

 
Autumn
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
Sett Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp
 
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
CDBaby
Bandcamp
 
2018-03-23
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

2 Comments

  1. peter says:

    Nice to see this one being covered, we missed you three!

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