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Mercury Rev

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Mercury Rev All Is Dream album cover
3.87 | 39 ratings | 7 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dark Is Rising (4:52)
2. Tides of the Moon (5:13)
3. Chains (4:22)
4. Lincoln's Eyes (7:09)
5. Nite and Fog (3:58)
6. Little Rhymes (5:13)
7. Drop in Time (4:20)
8. You're My Queen (2:33)
9. Spiders and Flies (4:11)
10. Hercules (7:52)

Total Time 49:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Jonathan Donahue / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Sean Mackowiak "Grasshopper" / guitar
- David Fridmann / bass, Mellotron
- Jeff Mercel / drums, piano

- Mary Gavazzi Fridmann / soprano vocals
- Amy Helm / vocals
- Bethany Crescini / child vocals
- Deb Curley / vocals
- Katie Fox / vocals
- Jason Russo / guitar
- Rex L. White / pedal steel guitar
- Justin Russo / Fender Rhodes piano
- Aaron Hurwitz / Hammond
- Larry Packer / solo violin
- Gregor Kitzis / violin
- Laura Seaton / viola
- Martha Mooke / viola
- Sarah Adams / viola
- Maxine Neuman / cello
- Suzanne Thorpe / flute
- Marc Guy / French horn
- Joel Eckhaus / bowed saw
- Tony Visconti / string arrangements (3,7), Mellotron (9)

Releases information

Artwork: Detail of Jennifer Hathaway's "Breakthrough Dreaming"

CD V2 ‎- 63881-27106-2 (2001, US)

LP V2 ‎- VVR1017521 (2001, UK)

Digital album

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy MERCURY REV All Is Dream Music

MERCURY REV All Is Dream ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MERCURY REV All Is Dream reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Absolutely fantastic to see MR added to the Progressive Archive. They fit the genre beautifully. Strings, avante garde arrangements, totally surreal at times too. All Is Dream is the best album on offer, although I have yet to hear the highly rated Boces. The album starts with ' The Dark is Rising', a song named from Susan Cooper's book of the same title. If you have read the book, more for youngsters, you will understand the 'spookiness' of the whole realm. A great fantasy novel. Mercury Rev set the tone with this beautifully orchestrated song. Donahue's high pitched vocals perfectly in tune with the backdrop anthem song. The next song gains strength with " Tides Of The Moon'. This is more complex and quite hypnotic as MR weave in and out. It has great peaks and vallies as the music, richly dances to and fro.A previous reviewer dislikes ' lincoln's Eyes' but for me this is the highpoint of the album, stretching the Rev's psychotic, manic tendencies to it's fragile best. Persevere with this track as near the end it becomes hauntingly beautiful as it finally leaps into the epic ' Nite and Fog'. ' Little Rhymes' follows. It is well executed and relates to psyhedelic tripping after too many pills!! and is so fairytale like in it's delivery you know these guys have been feasting on mushrooms in a dark forest somewhere. Perhaps this is why I rate Mercury Rev so highly is because they constantly enter the surrealistic world that prog started off as doing. It is fresh sounding too and totally unique.' Hercules' is a fine ending to All Is Dream and for anyone desperately looking for some new sound that is creative, original and near perfect then start with this album. A modern day masterpiece release 11/9/2001, a ray of light when the world was enshrouded in darkness. Irony for sure.
Review by loserboy
3 stars MERCURY REV have been experimenting with pop culture for some time now and "All Is Dream" is no exception with their cascading hypnotic rhythms and powerful song delivery. Without a question these guys transcend pop music (although they are quite popular among the kiddies these days). Even though these guys are a modern pop outfit I just love in sharp contrast their liberal use of the mellotron throughout. Hard to peg these guys down but I would say a mix of RADIOHEAD and TRAVIS. This is a band that can use a bowed saw to transcend moments of despair, and lead the listener to a delicately sanguine resting place, where guitars swirl and soar with a rainbow blast of moonlit images. It can be a powerfully majestic experience, as it is in "Chains" or " Little Rhymes" which add some lovely instrumentation and impactful lyrics. Aside from mellotron, MERCURY REV also add Hammond organ, cello, violins, violas, french horn, flute and full orchestration. An excellent album and surprisingly quite progressive. Best listened to with a bit of volume behind it for maximum experience.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "All is Dream" is the 5th full-length studio album by US rock act Mercury Rev. The album was released through the V2 label in August 2001. Itīs the successor to "Deserter's Songs" from 1998 and features a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor as Suzanne Thorpe (flute), Adam Snyder (Wurlitzer piano, Mellotron, Hammond B-3 organ) and Jimmy Chambers (harpsichord, clavinet, drums) have left the band. Only one new member has been added in Jeff Mercel (piano, drums). Mercury Rev are as a consequence only a four-piece on "All is Dream". Jonathan Donahue (vocals, acoustic guitar), Sean "Grasshopper" Mackowiack (guitar) and Dave Fridmann (mellotron, bass) remain from the lineup who recorded "Deserter's Songs (1998)". In addition to the permanent members of the lineup performing there are several guest musicians featured on the album who help colour the music with instruments like violin, flute, and strings.

Stylistically the two preceding releases "See You On The Other Side (1995)" and "Deserter's Songs (1998)" featured an alternative/indie rock style with a slight psychadelic edge and the occasional progressive touch, and that music style is more or less continued on "All is Dream". The sound is pleasant, organic, and warm, and the tracks are generally structurally simple and relatively catchy. The vocals are soft and accessible and there are layers of instruments on the tracks which make them an intriguing listen. The tracks featuring string arrangements work especially well.

"All is Dream" features a professional, detailed, and well sounding production and everything is performed with passion, skill, and conviction, so there is high level musicianship on all posts too. "Deserter's Songs (1998)" was a high quality release by Mercury Rev and upon conclusion "All is Dream" is a worthy follow-up to that album. Itīs not fully on par with it, but itīs still a quality release deserving a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Released in 2001, All Is Dream is the fifth album by New York indie rockers Mercury Rev. It's an ethereal collection of mainly love songs with recurring themes of time, night and the moon (the last being a metaphor for the female form) that give it the feel of a concept album. The overall sound on the album is lush, with rich orchestration and intense vocals. The compositions are mature with intelligent lyrics that are brimming with vivid imagery. Dare I say pretentious, without it sounding like a criticism?

Track 1, The Dark Is Rising, is arguably the best and most dramatic song on the album. It's like a symphonic epic in microcosm with majestic string crescendos and sensitive piano and vocal reveries. Tides Of The Moon has a dreamy, abstracted atmosphere with eerie organ and effects weaving in and out. Despite the shrill guitar solo and prominent rhythm section this song has a soothing, soporific effect. The next track, Chains, is a catchy psychedelic pop song featuring Mellotron stabs and piercing guitar. The orchestral strings on this track remind me of ELO, but I'm not sure if Mercury Rev would appreciate the comparison. Lincoln's Eyes has a sparse intro with vocals and weird effects. There's a sudden change in dynamics from soft to loud as drums, guitar and spacey effects are let loose. The closing section introduces a new theme with electric piano and bowed saw.

The next four songs are basically a series of indie pop songs, all nicely orchestrated and very pleasant. Of these, Little Rhymes features Mellotron and emotive pedal steel guitar, while Drop In Time sounds like The Beach Boys thanks to the timpani and orchestral effects. The other two songs are Nite And Fog and You're My Queen, both of which are nice but fairly unremarkable. Track 9, Spiders And Flies, is a typically quirky Mercury Rev song. It features piano and vocals, later joined by Mellotron strings and flutes. The mini-epic Hercules completes the album. This track begins with acoustic guitar and builds gradually as other instruments join in, and finishes with Mellotron waves and a treated guitar solo.

All is Dream is a fine album and there isn't a bad track on the recording. The album is aptly titled as it's an intricate and graceful dream-scape. However, in my opinion there is only one outstanding track so my overall rating is 3 stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Although I have heard a few other Mercury Rev albums, the only one that I am intimately familiar with is All is Dream. This is alternative music but it has a lot of prog elements to is and that is probably what drew me to this album. I heard the song "Nite and Fog" and loved it for the lyrics and the odd yet beautiful harmonies of the instruments. I then bought the album and fell in love with it immediately. It has not wore itself out since then, I still love it.

What makes it so unique? I have to say that the vulnerability of the tracks (especially the first four). Prog is usually so flamboyant and certain of itself (not that this is a bad thing). But here, the uncertainty that is apparent throughout this album is what makes it so beautiful, haunting and different. The strings are very dramatic and almost overproduced in the first track and this works so wonderfully against the vulnerable vocals (the falsetto to me sounds a lot like Neil Young's falsetto). Most of this is album is mellow but certainly not uninteresting ever. The second track continues the same tone minus the orchestra but with a new and unique melody. Lincoln's Eyes seems like a lullaby at first but turns out more intense later and during the insturmental break splits into a guitar solo with some dissonent things going on underneath. There is a short Intermezzo before the next track which uses some nice electronics and a bowed saw. This moves us into the next part of the album which uses psychadelia and pop sensibility to make some more accesible tracks for the album. This might seem like a turn off to many proggers, but if only pop music were like this....we would all be listening to better music now if this were the case. These next songs are still beautiful and definately are not filler. Nite and Fog as I said is the song that attracted me to the album in the first place. This is followed by more of the same....excellent yet accesible songs of the highest calibre. These songs demand your attention even if they are simple. The last track is Hercules and is a fine ending for the album. Vocal, guitar and piano start the track out simply and as the next verse starts, it becomes more intense. The chorus continues the build as the piano introduces a nice chord progression which the guitar soon picks up and follows and this continues the build of the song. At the second instrumental breaks, the tension breaks as an electric solo breaks in and the drums pound out a firm, decisive rhythm and all of the vulnerability and dissonance is resolved. The redemption is finally reached now at the end of the album.

Both the lyrics and the instrumentals are important to this album, but so is the production, well produced yet still unsure of itself. In my opinion, everything is used to it's utmost to make this a masterpiece of progressive rock and as I said before, the thing that makes this a masterpiece (and as a masterpiece it should be unique) is it's use of prog and vulnerability. Perfection that becomes more apparent as you listen to it more and more.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "All Is Dream" is absolutely brilliant, enchanting and extraordinary. The band's approach is a step up from the orchestral turn of Deserter's Songs. Musically, it is even more symphonic and darker. Jonathan Donahue's dreamy voice and lyrics are wonderful and here he sings some of the oddest lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#427381) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, April 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Mercury Rev are an interesting proposition due to the fact that, despite their American roots, they possess a very European Romantic sensibility. The opener, Dark is Rising, could have come off of Scott 4 and the album as a whole feels very much like an English Psychedelic experiment. There ca ... (read more)

Report this review (#46072) | Posted by | Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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