The Secret Migration
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Secret Migration
Mercury Revs sixth album Secret Migration is a high flying psychedelic concept record filled with paeans to Mother Nature. Singer Jonathan Donahue has never been so in touch with his inner hobbit as he is here. Dave Fridmann remains the bands producer, which is excellent as hes the most interesting part of the band, and a great deal of the reason that the bands best album, 98s Deserters Songs, is as good as it is. M. Rev has never been a wildly original band--theyve been aesthetically joined-at-the-hip with the Flaming Lips for much of their career, and "Diamonds" almost sounds like a parody of Wayne Coyne and crew. But theres something beguiling about the band, a childlike simplicity that runs through their modern-day prog anthems. On "My Love," Donahue sings "Aint it amazing when the seasons begin to change/Someone behind the scenes just seems pull some strings," and as daft as that sounds, well, hes right! As ecological stoner anthems go, these are righteous. --Mike McGonigal
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Sure, the heavily resonant bassline(s) roll through a number of the tracks; and the percussive insistence of the drum work can manifest as loping, frenetic, or staccato; and an explosive onrush of modulated guitar will surface, but they've been dialed down from the chaotic order imposed upon most of the tracks from their initial release(s). The role of the strings from their previous two releases has been largely reduced, with both synthetic and organic keyboard instrumentation providing a rich atmospheric texture in which to embed melody lines that bounce along with a levitational bouyancy. And while the band's sound used to be rooted in an almost claustrophobic sense of production, it sounds roomy and spacious here, with the songs structured in (for Mercury Rev, at least) a much friendlier, upbeat, conventional manner.
Revisions of another sort have occurred with the lyrics. Formerly trending toward the abstract (and at times, with sinister overtones), they have become explicitly direct and positive in content, dealing with love in both its romantic and unconditional connotations, woven through with a multiplicity of references to nature, and though more than occasionally (and unabashedly) navel-gazing, surprisingly effective as lyrics imbued with more than a touch of true poetry.
Some critical reviews of this recording were absolutely scathing, comparing it to its immediate predecessors; the lushly orchestrated "Deserter's Songs" (fourth release) and its mirror-universe counterpart "All Is Dream" (fifth) in an unfavorable light, especially with regard to lyrical content and expectation that their music would continue to develop in a more offbeat direction. Having listened to this band since the release of "Yerself Is Steam", however, I submit to you that this is their strongest effort since "See You On The Other Side" dropped in 1995, and makes definite evolutionary progress, even if it occasionally slips into preciousness. Definitely recommended.
"The Secret Migration" doesn't sound as psychedelic to my ears as Mercury Rev's earlier albums. While there are certainly some trippy passages in which a listener can find themselves dreaming, these songs should be accessible to a fairly wide range of tastes. Jonathan Donahue's vocals are delicate, sweet and heartfelt, and the production and arrangements are exquisite. Some of the songs, particularly "My Love", and "Moving On" have a timeless quality.
This is music that should be taken on its own merits and not compared with previous Mercury Rev albums. If one can get past the differences between this effort and earlier efforts by Mercury Rev, the high quality of this musical experience will transport the listener to a place of optimism, magic and light. For me, this album evokes more emotions than most other CDs I own. It is a mature, fully realized work.
I highly recommend this one, whether or not you are a Mercury Rev fan. In times like these, I think we all need good doses of magic, nature and sunshine.
The past releases by Mercury Rev have been on par with stuff like the Flaming Lips and Sparklehorse -- brilliant, otherworldly and complex. Here, the fairy-tale motif takes over, rather than orchestral pop and psychedelic rock. Ye Olde Renaissance Rock'n'Rolle, maybe, with mentions of "morning stars," white horses, sinister forests, silver oceans and fairy rides. Pretty, but not very substantial.
Musically, the band is still in solid form -- lots of epic soundscapes and rich instrumentation. Sure, they have wandered all over the musical palette, but they never fail to sound lush and interesting. The one flaw is that they lost that folksy edge -- especially the bowed saws -- that characterized their sound in "Deserter's Songs."
It starts off with a series of very grand, rich songs, which are sent up in the air by piano and organ, and only rooted by some very solid basslines. But with "Vermillion," the soft piano revs up into a faster tempo that carries over until the final round of songs, which are airy but surprisingly powerful. Synths and soft bass are what carry the songs into that pretty, if less powerful, sound.
The songwriting stumbles slightly. Jonathan Donahue's unmelodious vocals are a bit on the annoying side, but the lyrics are also weaken "Secret Migration." A few like "In The Wilderness" have the spare, grounded sound, but often the lyrics are dressed up in Ye Olde Rock'n'Rolle descriptions: "See how the rain, captured by the leaves,/Shimmers and falls, and lives on in diamond balls,/Like a necklace hung, over limb and branch,/For me to show to you, like gifts." It just barely misses being exquisite, and ends up a bit contrived.
Mercury Rev has a rare miss in "Secret Migration," which is just a little too fairy-tale-ish for its own good. Were they to ride dragonflies less often, they would sound pretty close to perfect.
Most recent customer reviews
Mercury Rev became household names through the first class `Deserter's Songs', and now they are back with their sixth album `The Secret Migration'.Read more