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Mercury Rev

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Mercury Rev Boces album cover
3.00 | 16 ratings | 4 reviews | 6% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Meth of a Rockette's Kick (10:29)
2. Trickle Down (5:04)
3. Bronx Cheer (2:49)
4. Boys Peel Out (4:28)
5. Downs Are Feminine Balloons (6:29)
6. Something for Joey (4:06)
7. Snorry Mouth (10:55)
8. Hi-Speed Boats (4:00)
9. Continuous Drunks and Blunders (0:48)
10. Girlfren (4:41)

Total Time: 53:49

Line-up / Musicians

- David Baker / vocals
- Jonathan Donahue / guitar, vocals
- Sean Mackowiak "Grasshopper" / guitar
- Suzanne Thorpe / flutes
- David Fridmann / bass
- Jimy Chambers / drums

- Jim Burgess / trombone
- C. Gavazzi / French horn
- Julie Baker / violin

Releases information

CD Beggars Banquet ‎- BBQCD 140 (1993, UK)

LP Beggars Banquet ‎- BBQ LP 140 (1993, UK)
LP Music On Vinyl ‎- MOVLP317 (2011, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MERCURY REV Boces ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

MERCURY REV Boces reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by bhikkhu
3 stars This is an odd album, by an equally odd group. This is 90's alternative, with some prog tendencies (they would get proggier). That doesn't say enough either. There are some very catchy elements, surrounded by a cacophony of instruments (there are a vast array used here.) Within what seems to be a mess, a cohesion comes forth. It is quirky, and funny at times, but there is also darkness lurking about. On most of the songs, the lyrics are near impenetrable. Lost? I'm not surprised. All in all, it's a very enjoyable album.

"Meth of a Rockette's Kick" is probably the most prog of the bunch. It starts with a very light, and playful feel, and builds to a crescendo with noisy guitars. All the while, staying true to the playful aspect. It goes in to an interlude/jam, with some horns, crazy piano, and a flute keeping the theme going. The ending is an all out frenzy.

"Trickle Down" is a bit hardcore, almost metal. It reminds me a bit of Jane's Addiction.

"Bronx Cheer" may be the closest thing to a mainstream (dare I say pop?) number.

"Boys Peel Out" is a jazzy, beatnik inspired thing. There are great touches of drum brushes, electric piano, and a vibraphone.

"Snorry Mouth" is a dark little number, playing with the old relationship issues.

"Hi-Speed Boats" is reminiscent of the best of psychedelic rock. You can especially hear the Beatles' ("Rubber Soul" era) influence.

"Girlfren" is a drunken scat. If you can tell me what is being said, I would sure like to know.

Those are the highlights. It's a tough act to nail down, but I do know that I like it. Anyone who likes a good alternative band mixed with prog should dig it. This is an album you could fool your friends with. Put it on and they will say, "Thank god you're not playing that weird, boring crap." But you would know that there is much more here, beneath the surface.

H.T. Riekels

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I have played this several times now and still don't quite get it. It is regarded by critics as being one of their finest works. Boces has all the qualities of pure chaos. A bit like Sun Ra but with a 90's feel to it. They meddle with a multitude of instruments which indicates there are many layers of sound to unravel. Where do you end up after attempts to penetrate the wall of sound? I cannot honestly say. Being a big Mercury Rev fan I would have to say 'Meth of a Rockette's Kick ' is the highlight and also the most progressive sounding of an odd bunch.' Downs are feminine Balloons' and 'Snorry Mouth' are the other highpoints. You can't accuse them of having odd song titles and the cover confirms the great sense of humour this band have always maintained. I would have to say for collectors only however and it will take many many listens to sink in.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Boces is the second full-length studio album by American experimental/ psychadelic rock artist Mercury Rev. I found the bandīs debut album Yerself Is Steam (1991) to be an enjoyable but flawed affair, so I was hesitant to expect too much of Boces. As it is the band travels down the same lane on Boces as they did on the debut with a few improvements though.

The music is still experimental/ psychadelic rock and not very commercial to my ears. They must have had some commercial succes though as they played on the Lollapalooza festival during the tour for the album. Allthough the words experimental and psychadelic sounds great to my ears the album is not overtly experimental. This is still basicly alternative rock with some strange psychadelic noises and a few experiments along the way. Songs like the two 10 minute long tracks Meth of a Rockette's Kick and Snorry Mouth does have long noisy and psychadelic sections but the songs are generally pretty straight. The melodies take some time to sink in and thatīs usually a feature I enjoy in music but in this case I must admit that Iīm a little in doubt if itīs because the melodies just arenīt that memorable.

The musicianship is good and I enjoy the sections where Suzanne Thorpeīs flute is heard. A strange feature in the music for sure. Lead vocalist David Baker who hasnīt the most remarkable voice in the world is somehow a great asset to the album anyway. Heīs got some sort of special thing that makes his performance special. This would be the last album to feature David Baker. He would cite musical and personal disputes as the reasons for his departure. David Baker has later recorded an album using the name Shady.

The production while professional isnīt really to my taste. It lacks warmth IMO.

Boces is not an album to my taste but I acknowledge that itīs a quality product and I do partially enjoy it. 3 small stars is deserved for an album with many good ideas but with a mixed outcome.

Review by TCat
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars There shouldn't be any wonder as to why Mercury Rev is a group that ventures out into strange territory at times. Two of the members are also members of "The Flaming Lips" who also has a lot of eccentric music that can pretty much go anywhere. Both Jonathan Donahue and David Fridman have had their time with both bands and their ingenuity shows in the music. "Boces" was Mercury Rev's 2nd album and continues the noisy psychedlia and experimentation that was evident in the first album "Yerself is Steam". David Baker fronted the band in both albums, however he left the band a year after "Boces" was released. However, Mercury Rev would continue to exist and move slowly to a more lush sound which also continued to be innovative.

As I mentioned, Boces continues that weird and exploratory feel that the band used in the first album, however, this time more freedom was given to the entire band to explore the tracks, which were written by all members of the band. Someone would have an idea or basis for a song and the band was allowed to improvise and experiment on top of it, until it almost sounded like a different song from how it started. Yes there is a lot of noisiness and busy-ness to the music, but it all makes sense and doesn't go over the top as far as being able to tolerate it. One little bit of trivia, that during the time of this release, the band played at Lollapalooza and were kicked off stage because they were playing too loud.

It all starts with the 10+ minute track "Meth of a Rockette's Kick". Various textures swirl around Baker's pop-ish and dreamy vocals while "bop bop bop" goes on in the background. A sudden squeal of feedback ushers in a wall of noise while Baker continues to sing like nothing changed. The mellowness returns but things seem to be teetering on the edge of sanity and that sanity keeps blowing up. The instrumental break has a noisy guitar solo, but each individual instrument stands out of this cacophony even at its most intense and feedback heavy. Just after 6 minutes, the noise breaks down and we're left with subdued horns/reed messing around before everything comes together in a ragtag New Orleans band sound, but everything still sounds like it's about ready to fall apart as instruments keep venturing off on their own tangents and background vocals keep trying to pull it all together. Another wall of noise gets built as everyone tries to outdo each other and they all get swallowed up in the swirling noise.

"Trickle Down" is an odd duck that features two vocalists singing against each other on contradicting harmonies when a heavy metal guitar riff takes over and blows everything else away while an excited bunch of background singers sing "Yeah yeah yeah". Noise comes and goes while the singing/talking continues. The song is structured, yet chaotic. So much is packed into 5 minutes.

"Bronx Cheer" utilizes processed vocals to start off, but a pop-py yet noisy riff comes right in while John and Jonathan sing in parts. It is so interesting how things have a pop feel to them yet the songs are so strange and distorted and definitely not typical. I love it!

"Boys Peel Out" has a childish vibe to it with some jazz leanings. As usual, everything sounds like its on the verge of insanity. Vocals sound naïve yet the music going on around it sounds confident. Everything fits together, yet it doesn't. Its like you are listening to a song where everyone can't seem to get on the same page, yet you are sitting there enjoying what you hear.

"Downs are Feminine Balloons" starts out sounding like maybe we are going to get a normal song with strumming guitars and a simple melody, but a slightly off-kilter French horn makes you wonder when things will go south. There is also a nice flute in there too. It all comes together in a swirly psychedelic track, but stays quite mellow this time. After 3 minutes, someone starts to play distorted chords and intensity builds a bit, yet this time, somehow it all holds together. "If there's one thing I can't stand, its up."

"Something for Joey" has a fuller sound which intensifies early on with some unidentifiable instrumental effects. The song has pop sensibilities mixed with chaos. That's the best way to describe it. And flutes are involved.

"Snorry Mouth" is another 10 + minute track. Starting out somewhat peaceful, then becoming suddenly noisy, and then more dreaminess mixed with nightmarish textures. Dual guitars fight with each other during the instrumental breaks as everyone else tries to hold it all together. There is an ambient/noise section later as the music gets experimental and suddenly breaks into its organized chaos again. As the guitars take over again, it all approaches "Kayo Dot" style craziness, then it all falls apart into a quieter section. Now we've finally gone to the other side of sanity as a hundred different sounds individually try to get a foot hold, but nothing succeeds.

"Boats" moves into a more upbeat, melodic territory again with a heavier track with guitars swirling around in an almost shoegaze style while flutes keep things psychedelic sounding against the heavy guitars. "Continuous Drunks and Blunders" is a short track of noise. "Girlfren" is a solo piano joined by a drunk sounding vocalist.

Except for those last two short tracks, this is one of the best noise-pop albums I have ever heard. I'm not even sure if you can call it that. It is definitely hard to describe, but the best thing I can think of is walking along the line of sanity/insanity. And all the while, I find it enjoyable and intriguing. I also know there are a lot of people that feel the same way about it, but it does come off as a little harsh the first few times you hear it. Once you get used to it, you start to hear a lot of cleverness and ingenuity. I know I sort of avoided it at first having come across it after hearing the amazing album "All Is Dream" and deciding it didn't sound anything like that one. But, curiosity kept me coming back to this album until now where I find it completely fascinating. Because of the weak ending where the band feels like they are just taking up time, I can only give it 4 stars, but the other tracks are so amazing and unlike anything else, that I have to give it at least that many stars. This is highly recommended if you are looking for something different, yet challenging.

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