Mercury Rev: Snowflake Midnight and Strange Attractor
Another late review, of Mercury Rev’s Snowflake Midnight and its free-download companion Strange Attractor. I’ve been a fan since 1998’s Deserter’s Songs, which I know makes me a bit of a johnny-come-lately, but I was a little underwhelmed by the last album (The Secret Migration), which seemed a little patchy. The new material represents something of a departure in that it’s much more reliant on electronic textures and programmed rhythms. It still sounds like the Rev – Jonathan Donohue’s voice is still instantly recognisable, for a start, and the general feel of the music is just as ethereal as ever. Initially I worried that there was a tendency to sound both rather washed-out and rather generic, since I’ve come to associate vaguely drum and bass rhythms and expansive synths with (yuk) elevator ambient music. But with repeated listens I’m spotting the glitches and tweaks that make this a more interesting experience, and in places the new and old Revs come together to make something stronger. Other reviewers have also spotted motorik elements but I dunno. I’m sure even Enya will be claiming her new record is a Krautrock experiment, the way things are going. Not that Mercury Rev sound anything like that load of old shite.
Anyway, some tasters. On Snowflake Midnight (‘the bunny one’) the song that’s attracted the remixers is ‘Senses On Fire’ but I think you should listen to this, since it morphs into about three and a half different songs. Play at 11.
‘People Are So Unpredictable (There’s No Bliss Like Home)‘ – Mercury Rev – Snowflake Midnight
You can get the whole of Strange Attractor, which features a rather nice white cat on the cover, free from the band’s website. Heartily recommended – if anything this album is a little quieter but it’s not a collection of inferior work by any means. I’ve picked this one because I thought it was named after a rather unexciting South London suburb; turns out it’s something to do with an American football player who lost his team the Superbowl when missed the final kick. The Rev are from Buffalo, Scott Norwood’s team, and I think they’ve forgiven him. Poor bastard. Anyway, lovely stuff.
‘Nocture for Norwood‘ – Mercury Rev – Strange Attractor