Forgotten series: Mercury Rev – The Secret Migration (2005)

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I fell in love with the lost, desolate feeling of 1998’s Deserter’s Songs, a title that seems to perfectly sum up the feeling of that album.

Mercury Rev is certainly a band that tends to push themselves forward and further with their sound, but the follow up, 2001’s All is Dream felt like the band was, for once, spinning their wheels artistically. To say it was a bad album isn’t fair: It simply wasn’t anything new and was basically a retread of the territory Deserter’s Songs had already covered so successfully.

Unless you were an absolute die-hard fan, it’s hard to see how All is Dream could be deemed an essential purchase. It just wasn’t.

Four years later, however, the band managed to get the juices flowing again and turned out The Secret Migration, a lush and yet strangely muscular album that found the band exploring a slightly more mature sound. That isn’t to say that some didn’t find it overly “precious”: Mercury Rev is an unusual band with an elaborate style, fronted by a man whose high, nasal voice is probably the source of most of the band’s criticism. (Think Flaming Lips, Sparklehorse, or even outsider-musician Daniel Johnston.)

For those who can look past the odd vocals — or even just plain enjoy them — The Secret Migration is going to provide a lot of enjoyment. It may just be the band’s best album.

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You would be remiss not shelling out the extra few dollars for the deluxe edition, which features a 30-minute bonus disc with live and non-album tracks.

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Johnson
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