Mercury Rev – Deserter’s Songs

Mercury RevMercury Rev have just released their best of album; six albums into their career it may seem like an odd time to release such an album. But Mercury Rev (like their counterparts the Flaming Lips) have just gotten better and better with age. Initially, they would blend beautiful melodies with earth shattering noise. In their early shows, the band used to suspend guitars from the ceilings of venues and blast feedback from them. After their third album “See You On The Other Side” they had all but disintegrated, in a cloud of drugs and madness. Broken, the band retreated to the studio of bassist/producer Dave Fridmann, and with nothing to lose, created a lush, timeless album.

“Deserter’s Songs” opens with probably it’s strongest track “Holes”, a shimmering dream like track that goes at it’s own pace. “Tonite It Shows” builds with each verse before crashing in a gorgeous crescendo. “Endlessly” is a breezy waltz-like track that has the albums now signature bow-saw effect on it. “Opus 40” is one of the two obvious singles, along with “Goddess On A Hiway”, which both reign in some of the orchestral excess but are still strong thanks to their catchy melodies.

There are some whimsical, short instrumental tunes which are nice, but don’t really add anything to the album. The later songs are maybe even stronger than the start. “A Funny Bird” harks back to the group’s noise heavy psychedelic sound. “Delta-bottleneck Stomp” is a really lively track that just burst with it’s own energy. The special edition I’ve got has a bonus CD with 4 acoustic tracks on it, including wonderful versions of “Holes”, “Opus 40” and “Endlessly” as well as two cover songs. The Best Of.. looks like a good album, but anyone with an interest in Mercury Rev should pick up this album first. It’s just sublime.

Mercury Rev – Opus 40:

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