Sinclair and Brubeck create a smoky, sultry soundtrack for Fall
It may just be the cool breeze and freshly lit Pumpkinhead candle talking, but I am absolutely in love with this sultry slice of Autumn-themed ‘60s Mod and Northern Soul. Another Autumn is unequivocally a September album; not quite cheery enough for the heat of August, but still lacking the rainy gloom of October. Ranny Sinclair is showing us a freshly fallen, leaf covered path, still brimming with life and color, but ready for its inevitable exit into the cold unknown.
Reading through the liner notes, it’s a miracle this album even exists. Recorded between 1964 and 1966, a large chunk of these songs were never released, resigned to live out their days on dusty old master tapes stacked up in some back closet. The few tracks that did get released were only as 7” singles, fetching big money as collector’s items. This album, some 53 years later, is their first full length release.
The high point on the album is, no surprise, “Autumn in Our Town,” one of two songs featuring legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. Ranny paints a vivid New England scene full of “falling leaf and flaming tree,” pleading with her love to come back while “it’s golden Autumn in our town.” Brubeck’s piano is particularly effective, lightly plucking the high octave during the verse, then diving into the lower register for the chorus. The mix is also quite exceptional; the piano was recorded and mixed very hot to give a slightly distorted and compressed tone. It adds some warmth to the overall chilly feel of the piece.
The other track I can easily leave on repeat is “Ode To A Cowboy,” a groovy psych tune that could work equally well as a Nancy Sinatra single. The dizzying amount of chord changes and spacey harmonica creates a wild soundscape, full of dreamy lyrics about a cowboy riding off into the sunset. I can’t believe this has never been used in a movie; it’s tailor made for a Tarantino wild west flick.
There’s also a few missteps, but honestly they aren’t worth discussing; this is a rock solid record we’ll be talking about for years to come.
Modern Harmonic are putting out some of the best sounding wax right now and Another Autumn is no exception. Mastered by Bob Irwin at Sundazed Studio in Nashville, this is a classic mono release with all the bells and whistles you’d expect; up front vocals, warm compression/saturation, and slightly hollow sounding drums. These tracks were recorded over the course of two years, so expect to hear a lot of different recording styles; some big and roomy, some tight and precise. The vinyl itself sounds perfect, free from any surface noise or clicks and pops. Since it’s a mono release, be sure to push in the “mono” switch on your receiver if it has one.
For this being a brand new release, they really nailed the ‘60s pop vocal cover art. The color scheme is nice, with the artist font in orange over Ranny’s reddish-brown hair, adding to the fall theme. The back cover has more photos of Ranny and Brubeck, with some liner notes by (presumably) Modern Harmonic. Inside is a heavy plastic sleeve, housing a 180-gram black vinyl disc.