Friday, April 12, 2013

Mercury Rev - Secret Migration (2005)

Mercury Rev are glorious. As you may recall, it was my brother who lured me into their music, capturing me with their sound much as you would capture a mouse with peanut butter. The melodies, the liveliness, the sheer effervescence of their music... it is a delight to behold and absolute divine aural pleasure.

If you wish to know more about Mercury Rev, Pandora Radio has a nifty entry.

This album was purchased on a trip to Wellington. I had been informed of its impending release, which coincided with our vacation. Therefore I skipped out of the convention I was attending, racing down the hill in eager anticipation. I think this is the first time I've ever bought a cd on the day of its release and held it in my (slightly shaking) hands. I couldn't even listen to it - since I hadn't a portable cd player. But it was mine and it was beautiful and it was enough, for a time, to simply hold it in my hands and admire it.

The album cover is a thing of beauty. In perfect pastel lilac hues - delicate and fragile, like their sound. A moth, tawny wings spread to reveal eyes and a woman's face upon its thorax. Inside the dreamy, surreal, otherworldly feel continues with gorgeous lavendar shades: swans, clouds. It is all very dreamlike and ethereal, entrancing.

Of course, the instant I slipped it into the CD player I fell forever, unrepentedly, in love.

The dreamlike, haunting "Secret for a Song" entrances with its gentle piano, fleetingly beautiful vocals - as clear and as sweet and as innocent as a childhood kiss. Glorious enough to bring a tear to your eye and reach deep down into your soul and give it a gentle, loving, squeeze.
"I'll tell you a secret, I'll sell you a secret for a song..."
 Beautiful, melancholic, entrancing; now we delve "Into Yer Ocean". The lyrics are pure poetry, the light, lilting rhythms enhance and transform the music into thousands of delicate crystals, tinkling like stars above the gentle rise and fall of waves.

Tinkling like tiny stars, we have "Diamonds" with more evocative poetry:
" a bracelet hung, from a spider's web..."
Sweet, delicate, sensitive.

Piano and strings delicately dance around Jonathan's wonderful voice as he leads us through "Black Forest (Lorrelei)". Haunting, fairytale lyrics and a sense of longing and loneliness with a hint of helplessness.
"There's no way 'round the forest, the only way is through. And there's no way I'd make it without you..."
Their lyrics are so rich, so beautiful, so dream-like and whimsical that I cannot resist quoting them.

"Slow, rich, glorious velvet "Vermillion" is as smooth as a caress.

The glorious "In the Wilderness" is a love song. Vocal-centric, sweet, innocent, romantic and beautiful.

And Mercury Rev score mad bonus points for the line:
"How could I have been blind for so long
and how could the woman I love be so strong"
'Cos how many musicians would have used the rhyme "wrong" instead?
"...Take her by surprise, not by force..."
This song is like being enfolded in the arms of your beloved and lain down on the verdant grass in a glorious woodland where the trees are wearing their autumn suits.

Haunting melodies, echoing and spectral as the flutes and strings entwine "In a Funny Way". But it's not funny, it's beautiful, vibrant and playful love song. Fleeting, ethereal, ephemeral.
(The video is delightful and slightly creepy - you should totally watch it).

Hell, I need a thesaurus to write these reviews!

It's like being swept up into the clouds and sung to by angels.

Another beauty, "My Love" is the sort of melody that cannot help but stir your soul. The lyrics are filled with heartbreak and regret:
"... I never gave you enough, I could have given you my love..."
A lament of letting the one you love slide through your fingers, of not giving all that you should to someone who deserved it. Such a simple thing - love - but it means so much.

"Moving On" is short, choral and flavoured with crystal raindrops.

"The Climbing Rose" is another song of transcendent glory.The lyrics are repetitive, but poetic.

The drums erupt with vibrant energy as your spirit will "Arise" into clarity and poetry.

For a song called "First Time Mother's Joy (Flying)", this is a bittersweet symphony, the piano adding an edge of melancholy.
"...Soon the dormant patient roots will show themselves as childish shoots..."
Their lyrics are so gosh darned beautiful.

Concluding with the melancholic, the sorrowful, the heartfelt "Down Poured the Heavens" when Jonathan's voice almost cracks with the emotional overload.

Mercury Rev are, quite possibly, one of the most evocative and stunningly beautiful bands in the world. I cannot understand why they are not better appreciated, or more well known. There is noone that comes even close in terms of clarity and whimsical charm. Their songs are poetry to music, their arrangements pure magic and Jonathan's voice has an otherworld quality that makes you wonder how he can possibly be human (I think he's fae). After this album and the previous, it seems so impossible to possibly top them, that Mercury Rev released an album of entirely different stylings and sound. Still, whether they return to this sound or not, they have left us with two magnificant albums. The mood for this one is generally gentler, more melancholic, filled with longing and loss, compared with the playful innocence of (some of)"All is Dream".

And what will I rate this one? Yeh, you guessed it = 10/10.

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