Mercury Rev

The Light in You

Bella Union

Sep 18, 2015 Issue #54 - August/September 2015 - CHVRCHES Bookmark and Share


We've been here before, countless times. A band whose heyday was a generation ago returns, sounding just as they did 15-20 years ago and dropping an evocation of just how wonderful that music we always loved was. This though, proves a double-edged sword as we realize that their music proved too influential and that every B-list indie band today has caught them up and made a career out of sounding like them. And we lament.

Or at least if we did, then Radiohead would be the only band critics liked (despite what you may believe, this is not the case). The Light in You is Mercury Rev's first LP in seven years and few returns are more welcome.

After all, 1998's Deserter's Songs is one of the best, most underrated albums of its decade: that this isn't much of a departure is probably a good thing, as the worst case scenario is that we get the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the band's brilliance, which is more than welcome. But whisper it quietly: this might turn out to be even better.

Okay, the lyrics can be a touch trite at times, but that's beside the point. Jonathan Donahue's vocals are merely an ingredient in the sounds of the songs. The raucous funk of "Sunflower," the light kaleidoscope of percussion on "Central Park East," and the reverb-heavy vocals and strings on "Emotional Freefall" create pieces that go beyond songs and become soundscapes. Without losing their hooks and melodies, they are the sound of a summer breeze rippling over a cornfield, or dappled sunlight on a picturesque harbour.

These 11 tracks have been carefully honed over the last two years and it shows. Nothingthe moogs, the timpanis, the mandolins, chimes, bells, guitars, keys, and the rest—gets wasted here. The album is clearly painstakingly and expertly crafted, yet still sounds effortless. (www.mercuryrev.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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