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Mercury Rev - The Secret Migration CD (album) cover


Mercury Rev


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3.42 | 27 ratings

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3 stars Mercury Rev was just coming off two successful albums in the UK with their excellent albums 'The Deserter's Song' and 'All is Dream' and after a hiatus of 4 years, they dropped a new album in 2005 named 'The Secret Migration'. Of course expectations (including mine) were quite high for this album, and you would think the band had their new sound that they could settle on, something that was not quite as chaotic as their first albums, but still had a challenging sound, not quite completely commercial yet. However, 'The Secret Migration' instead decided to move to a more ambient state, hoping to gain an even larger following by making their music more accessible.

The album starts off well enough with 'Secret for a Song' which hints back to the previous two albums, but it also seems like the music is cleaned up a bit, but in this case, that psychedelic edge that made the music so appealing is also cleaned up with it. This seems to be the case as the album continues on, but moving to a sound that is a bit more accessible. The music becomes lush and has a slight shoegaze feel to it, but unfortunately, the vocals are not as appealing and varied as they were on 'All Is Dream' (which is what made that album so great). As a result, the songs end up getting a very same-y feeling to them, and also end up coming across as underdeveloped. The great vocal and instrumental acrobatics are taken away, and the music ends up being just kind of uninteresting.

That's not to say there aren't some interesting tracks here. 'Black Forest (Lorelei)' is a definite highlight especially for the Floyd-ian guitars and a more dynamic track. But then you get tracks like 'Vermillion' that tries hard to be catchy and upbeat, but ends up sounding a bit lackluster with those tired vocals taking away the life of the track. This seems to be the case with both the upbeat and slower tracks on the album and nothing really ends up standing out too much through most of the album. The music is pleasant enough, though, just not of the caliber of the earlier (and also some of the later albums), the songs are pretty much mediocre. Even if you like ambient music, it still doesn't seem to have much to offer.

There is also a limited edition CD edition that includes an additional bonus disc that has some rare cuts, outtakes and live versions of a few of the album's tracks. There are 8 tracks on this bonus CD and it has a duration of about 30 minutes. The music on this doesn't add or take away from the entire experience, so only completionists or fans would be interested in it. Even the surprise cover 'Streets of Laredo' isn't that interesting and just ends up fading into the other tracks. As with the album, there just isn't enough variation between the tracks for anything to stand out.

As much as I am a fan of this band, this album just never seemed to grow on me or stike any kind of emotion from me. I am certainly glad that it wasn't the first album I heard from them because, even though I would have though it was okay, I doubt if I would have been impressed enough to listen to any of their other albums. Even though this was an attempt to pull in more fans, I would not consider it one that is recommended for those that want to investigate their music. It is one that should be reserved for fans, though it is still a bit better than just 2 stars. It's pretty mediocre, so 3 stars is fair enough. If you are curious about this band, I recommend starting with 'All Is Dream' first and then go from there moving towards the older albums for noisy and chaotic tracks, or newer albums for the more ambient and softer sound (but still better than this album).

TCat | 3/5 |


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