Mercury Rev Delivers One of the Year's Most Intriguing Albums

Metroland | December 18, 2008
For their first album(s) in almost four years, Mercury Rev have more or less ditched the idea of trying to sound like a band and dove full-on into the psychedelic-electronic rabbit hole. The results are really something -- if you played Snowflake Midnight next to one of the band's early-'90s guitar-noise workouts, you'd think the two were recorded centuries apart. (Technically they were.) In a way, these tracks have more in common with those early blasts than with their well-regarded attempts at Americana, in that song structures have been thrown out the window in favor of high drama, and a whole different kind of noise. Snowflake marks the beginning of the third act for a band who have been defined by change throughout their perplexing career.

Companion piece Strange Attractor, available as a free download from the band’s Web site, is the Amnesiac to Snowflake's Kid A ... sort of. Or maybe it's the other way around. Made up of 11 instrumental pieces and experimental soundscapes, Attractor at points recalls Dots and Loops-era Stereolab and Eno's ambient works, both favorably. Tune into Snowflake Midnight; drop out to Strange Attractor.


Metroland was founded in 1978 as a monthly entertainment guide; a year and a half later it went weekly, continuing to focus primarily on arts, entertainment and lifestyles. In September 1986, Metroland reinvented itself as a full-fledged alternative newsweekly, offering...
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