Mercury Rev - The Secret Migration
Alex Worsnip 24/01/2005
Mercury Rev are a wonderful band. Deserter's Songs is one of the best LPs of the 1990s, perhaps of all time, and All Is Dream was a more than competent follow-up. But you really would now hope to see some progression now. There's absolutely no denying that Mercury Rev have carved their own niche, but hearing some of their original noisenik-erry wouldn't go amiss - nor would a new direction. The Secret Migration is pretty and well-crafted, but ultimately offers nothing particularly new. The strong one-two opening of the positive, exploding 'Secret For A Song' and the bass-driven rush of 'Across Yer Ocean' is good enough, but fails to ultimately make you sit up and gawp.
There has always been a slightly unsettling element to Mercury Rev's mix of folklore and wide-eyed, drug-infused, artificial positivity, and on single 'In A Funny Way' it gets a little too much, being slightly sickly rather than captivating. Nevertheless, there's much here to admire - the electronic sweep of 'Moving On' sounds more futuristic than anything they've produced before, and is infused with aching gorgeousness, and determined drive of 'Vermillion' is enchanting. There's nothing as perfect in its compact pop song nature as 'Goddess On A Hiway', however, nor anything as majestic as the otherworldly 'The Dark Is Rising'. The Secret Migration is a good album, but feels like another replication of its predecessors for the most part. As its predecessors are rather incredible, this isn't all bad, but it would be nice to hear something new.