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Mercury Rev - The Essential Mercury Rev - Stillness Breathes 1991-2006 CD (album) cover


Mercury Rev


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3.00 | 1 ratings

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3 stars Mercury Rev is an American rock band with an arty, often dreamy, sound and a vocalist who sounds a lot like Neil Young. They're not actually a Prog band, but they have a good deal of originality and some unusual, avantgarde-ish or would I say slightly psychedelic songs. The list of played instruments include bowed saw and tettix wave accumulator, whatever it is! This compilation is not quite my first acquaintance with them but as well it could be, because only now I finally got into their music. After this 2-disc compilation summing up their career up to 2006, they have already released two new studio albums in 2008.

This set is not supposed to be a Best Of thing, and even the word Essential in the title seems somewhat strange, as the second disc consists mostly of cover songs and rarities. A minus comes from the absence of discographic information which would have been very useful to a new listener like me. Also I would have preferred a chronological order of tracks to see the band's evolution clearer. Seemingly they started in more avant-garde style; some early songs are long (8-9 minutes) and fuse poetry reading into music ('Deadman' features a poet called Alan Vega). Perhaps the most accessible songs come from this Millennium.

About the cover songs: there are titles from for example Beatles (Lucy in the...), John Lennon (I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier), Bob Dylan (He Was a Friend of Mine), traditional tunes (Streets of Laredo), sixties' David Bowie (Memory of a Free Festival), Nico (Afraid) - and who else than Neil Young (Philadelphia). These covers demonstrate the chameleon-like nature of this band, as they capture the sound and spirit of the originals so well. Especially the songs by Dylan and Young could be mistaken to be performed by the original artists. But having as many as six studio albums preceeding this compilation, one could ask the point of having so much of cover stuff... Anyway, I had no trouble of collecting 20 out of 32 tracks to my use, but I can't really say how recommendable this would be to a listener who already knows their work well, or exactly how large deal of this music would be totally new to even a collector.

Matti | 3/5 |


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