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The Mercury Tree

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The Mercury Tree Permutations album cover
3.79 | 111 ratings | 4 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Symptoms (6:59)
2. Exhume the Worst (4:56)
3. Permutations (10:42)
4. Ether / Ore (4:08)
5. Placeholder (4:32)
6. Unintelligible (5:06)
7. Sympathesizer (4:42)
8. Seek And Release (5:46)
9. Prometheist (9:00)
10. Deep Five (10:32)

Total time 66:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Ben Spees / guitar, keyboards, vocals, mixing
- Oliver Campbell / bass, backing vocals
- Connor Reilly / drums

- Tony Mowe / alto & baritone saxophones (4,7)
- Aaron Clark / space guitar (7,10)

Releases information

CD self-released (2016, US)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE MERCURY TREE Permutations ratings distribution

(111 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

THE MERCURY TREE Permutations reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Quite different and refreshing syncopated prog in the OCEANSIZE and quirky TODD RUNDGREN/STEVEN WILSON and even TOBY DRIVER vein of song and melody construction, this is very interesting and refreshing music to listen to, to study. The enigmatic lead singer can sound as dissonant and chromatic as avant/RIO singer ELAINE DI FALCO or he can burst forth into his death metal growls or he can sound as pure of voice as TEARS FOR FEARS' Curt SMITH. I really like this!

1. "Symptoms" (6:59) opens the album with an edgy weave of instrumental sounds and rhythms--though there is a bit of a djenty base to it all. Once the vocal's odd melody and odd sound enters and establishes its place, the song takes off in a PROGHMA-C kind of full-speed ahead way. Heavily distorted guitars, heavily echoed vocal, this could be straight off of a KAYO DOT album. The rapid fire guitar and keyboard arpeggi in the fifth minute are replaced by a new section of Bill NELSON-like quirky-odd vocal melody. The two sections alternate into the sixth minute, shift key and scales, taking on somewhat more of a DEVY TOWNSEND sound and feel through to the end. Unusual, perhaps even unique song. (8/10)

2. "Exhume The Worst" (4:56) is a very odd sound and feeling "love song." PORCUPINE TREE would have loved to created this one. Some interesting and odd almost BEACH BOYS background vocals end the chorus section before the song returns to a chunkier bassed version of the opening. At 2:30 we here the vocalist's first scream/growls. The multiple guitar leads interwoven in the fourth minute's instrumental section are fascinating--so unusual! Odd, edgy song that I'll probably end up loving more than I do now. (8/10)

3. "Permutations" (10:42) Opens with some vascillating keyboard notes and "tuneless" guitar notes before the vocal talks to us. Acoustic guitars and spacey keyboards enter and establish an odd rhythm and pacing before layered voices contribute a kind of rondo of the repetition of a lyrical phrase. At the two minute mark plucked strings bring in a dissonant series of rising and falling arpeggi while an almost punk-like bass and GG vocal harmonies sing over the top. Djenty lead guitar solo ends and leaves us in a vacuum into which the "tuneless" guitar notes return. Vocals. At 4:30 we actually hit a very beautiful section--vocally and soft minor key instrumental weave--which builds and builds into a very violent crescendo at 5:30 and is then sustained for 30 seconds before returning to the "beauty" melodies of a recapitulation of the "vacuum section." Interesting section with reversed lead guitar at the end of the seventh minute leads into heavy weave over which a more dissonant vocal harmony is sung. The djenty rhythm section is danced within by the rapid-fire "plucked strings arpeggi until at 8:53 everything quiets down into a MAUDLIN OF THE WELL-like acoustic section with breathtaking beauty, both vocally and melodically. Gradually electric walls of sound build around the falsetto vocalizations before playing out to the song's end. Wow! What an odd, interesting ride! (9/10)

4. "Ether/Ore" (4:08) has such an odd electro-pop percussive foundation over which treated and untreated vocals, saxes, keys and guitars play--an odd weave--kind of early TODD RUNDGREN-esque while at the same time being again somewhat near the Bill NELSON/BE-BOP DE-LUX zone. Brilliant but odd as [&*!#]! (9/10)

5. "Placeholder" (4:32) familiar piano and bass chords give this a bit of a jazzy feel but the vocals are so TOBY DRIVER-like! I am thinking that this is by far the most accessible yet psychedelic of all songs thus far. A really cool, odd, yet gorgeous song. Gabriel RICCIO (THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT) would love this one. The yelled near-rap in the final minute sung over the long drawn out angelic vocals in the background are awesome. (10/10)

6. "Unintelligible" (5:06) has some ZA!/OCEANSIZE feeling to it. (9/10)

7. "Sympathesizer" (4:42) has some cool full-wall of sound foundation (not unlike those used by Terria-era Devin Townsend) over which all kind of odd and creative sounds and instruments are added. (9/10)

8. "Seek And Release" (5:46) shows some RADIOHEAD influence. And OCEANSIZE. Again, yeat another song that develops in a hitherto uncharted territory, unpredictable and utterly surprising and exciting. (9/10)

9. "Prometheist" (9:00) has a Post Rock-with-oriental-instruments sound with Bill NELSON like vocals and, later, angular, djenty bass and guitars. This could be a KARNIVOOL or VOTUM song! Absolutely awesome guitar and bass parts in the sixth and seventh minutes! The last 90 seconds play out in a kind of spacey, latent-power play--one is never sure whether or not the band is going to leap back out into dynamic decibelia! (9/10)

10. "Deep Five" (10:32) employs some King Crimson basics that have become widespread throughout prog world in the last 30 years over which a deceptively emotional, beautiful and understated vocal establishes itself. This singer is a special force! And the vocal harmonies are equally amazing. The polyphonic instrumental weaves in the fifth minutes are quite wonderful--as is the keyboard and bass'n'drum section that follows. Gamelan like percussives and buzzing synths and synth water sounds play in the soundscape over the steady, insistent drums and bass. This is heaven!! What an awesome way to close out this revelatory album. Brilliant!! (10/10)

Even though I am blown away by this fresh new music, I have a feeling that this is a real grower--that it will climb in my esteem with each and every listen. Really cool stuff! Heavily recommended to all prog lovers. This is one gift that will keep on giving for a long, long time! Check it out! THis one is pushing the envelope! In all directions!

Already a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music; soon to be cherished as an eternal masterpiece.

Review by Warthur
5 stars A genre-bending prog rock mashup of styles, replete with influences that mostly sound extremely modern (there's a high-quality post-rock and math rock foundation to a lot of their music) but with some interesting diversions here and there. (In particular, opener Symptoms has this pulsating, rhythmic style which feels like it's taken from prime zeuhl.) The fact that it's credited as being recorded at "The College of Wizardry & Bongo Fury" is a hint to the band having a good sense of humour, but the music here is serious and smart, offering a technical tour de force with quality compositions that don't ever descend into aimless noodling or waste time with filler.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The Mercury Tree, the Portland, Oregon, math rock trio of Ben Spees (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Connor Reilly (drums), and Oliver Campbell (bass), returned in March with its fourth studio album Permutations. The latest album follows upon the magnificence of Countenance, which came out in Septe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1566817) | Posted by JohnNicholson | Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Mercury Tree- Permutations I don't even know where to start here. Microtones, 3 and 4 part vocal harmonies (sometimes more?), angular riffs that don't sound like copies of the 2000 math rock/metal bands that exist already, odd approaches to songwriting, vocals that sound just a little bit ... (read more)

Report this review (#1548760) | Posted by Smurph | Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | Review Permanlink

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