ARTIST: Mercury Rev
RELEASE: The Light In You
RELEASE DATE: 02/10/15
RECORD COMPANY: Bella Union
It’s been seven years since Mercury Rev’s last album, and there has been some personal upheaval for several bandmembers, so maybe it’s no surprise that the band hasn’t stepped too far away stylistically from previous efforts. The new record is chock full of psychedelic pop goodness and majestic swashes of orchestral rock.
Witness the slightly twee opening track “The Queen of Swans” with carefully composed symphonic elements, twinkling triangle, and lovely chiming melodies twined with Jonathan Donahue’s sweet vocals. “Amelie” is another quietly contemplative song swept up by string (or programmed keyboards) arrangements. The lush quality of this tune does nothing to dispel the slight bit of disquiet it introduces to the mix. And then there’s the twilit sweep of “You’ve Gone With So Little For So Long”, and the isolated tale of loneliness of “Central Park East”. It is perhaps the strongest track of this album, moving the theme of solitude and reflection to front and center. It is a tune that stays with you for a long time. “Coming Up for Air” and “Autumn’s In the Air” are both gorgeous songs, revealing a love for the natural world, and the peaceful prose of the latter song help it settle comfortably around this listener’s ears. Yet, I sense sorrow at the song’s core, and the passing of time is counted out by a percussive instrument. “Sunflower” is kind of crazy and silly, completely removed from the solemn sweep of earlier songs, “Moth Light” is lighter than a butterfly flitting overhead, while closing track “Rainy Day Record” charges out the gate with horns, and even a sitar! The protagonist laments over the fact that rainy days may be gone forever, before discussing the buying and playing of a vinyl record.
In short, this is a lovely record that existing fans will enjoy and one that fans of lush orchestral pop and psychedelia will also appreciate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days “continues to define my existence”. During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink which also broadcasts on Primal Radio every other Friday at 9PM UK & again at 9PM EST. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.