Monday, May 30, 2005

Mercury Rev
The Secret Migration
release: May 17, 2005
rating: ****

Believe it or not, there were actually records released on September 11, 2001 (it was a Tuesday, afterall). Mercury Rev's last outing, All is Dream, just happen to meet that fate. Like many records released around that time, there was a double-edged sword involved. Some releases weren't given the attention they should have gotten, while others, released within the year before or after, were attributed with greater significance (it still doesn't make U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind an impressive piece of work). All is Dream sorta falls in between, in that it was greatly overlooked, yet is a powerful companion to the Fall of 2001. The Secret Migration, which follows the band's gorgeous chamber rock from Deserter's Songs and All is Dream, will likely not recieve the credit it deserves either. And this time, there's just no good reason as to why. Simply put, Migration is yet another beautiful, uplifting album from Mercury Rev. And though it may not exactly match the emotional highs and lows of Dream, it's still a touching affair. Everything here--and I do mean everything--is delicate, soaring and pretty, made possible by Jonathan Donahue's falsetto and the band's firm grasp on a variety of instruments (lots of piano, strings, et al). "Secret for a Song," "Across Yer Ocean" and "Black Forest" are just a few of the small masterpieces here that require at least a second listen to appreciate the songwriting. By the end of Migration, there does seem to be something missing. Perhaps it's missing that darker side of their music, which some other critics have pointed out. It could also be that the songs aren't quite as strong. Still, it's a big step above most other bands attempting rock on such a grand scale. -- Kenyon Hopkin

styles: Chamber Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
similar: The Flaming Lips, Deserter's Songs, All is Dream

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