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Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs CD (album) cover


Mercury Rev


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3.59 | 45 ratings

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3 stars Deserter's Songs was highly acclaimed in the UK on its release in 1998 and was even named NME Album of the Year, although it seems to be little known on ProgArchives and has only received a handful of reviews here. I always feel as if I'm at the movies when I listen to kooky indie rockers Mercury Rev, which maybe isn't that odd as their early recordings were created as soundtracks for experimental student films. There are three instrumental tracks on Deserter's Songs that sound as if they could have been composed for the likes of David Lynch's Eraserhead, and ENDLESSLY sounds like backing music from Edward Scissorhands. This is a typically quirky song with weird celestial choral effects and a Silent Night flute motif. On the subject of instrumentation on the album, the list of personnel reads like a swinger's lil' black book and features numerous guest appearances including contributions from members of The Band. Every instrument known to man seems to get used on the album, including one or two improvised ones such as bowed saw.

Overall, Deserter's Songs is an album of the middling sort although there are a few outstanding tracks such as the soaring pop ballad GODDESS ON A HIWAY that features clever homonymous word play. The ghostly-sounding HOLES is a densely orchestrated song about little moles. Ahhhh! If I may borrow from the song's own lyrics it's a 'big blue open sea' of a song, and is as beautiful a piece of music as you'll hear anytime soon. TONITE IT SHOWS reminds me a little of Barclay James Harvest's Moongirl, which in its turn sounds a bit like Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds I suppose. OPUS 40 shows a clear Pet Sounds influence and it contrasts sharply with the screaming guitar of the heavily psychedelic THE FUNNY BIRD. Lead singer Jonathan Donahue's vocals are treated with phasing or some such on the latter song and his natural singing voice is a bit of an acquired taste. Mercury Rev is a band that's well worth checking-out, but bear in mind that the mp3/stream here on ProgArchives isn't all that representative of the music on this and later albums.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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