Thursday, 20 January 2005

Album Review: The Secret Migration

In a natural extension of 2001’s All Is Dream, Mercury Rev’s sixth album is one of pomp and grandeur. Across Yer Ocean’s soaring melody is an early indication of what follows, as are the lilting pianos and rolling bass lines of Secret For A Song. Elsewhere, the fragile opening piano line of Vermillion is supplanted by an intense orchestral blast.

Jonathan Donahue’s enchanting vocals, which paint an almost perfect collection of idyllic fantasias, are the focal point, but guitarist Grasshopper’s exquisite solo on Black Forest (Lorelei) harks back to the presence he had on the best moments of Deserter’s Songs.

Perhaps aware that the whole thing could easily have slipped into the realm of bombast and ostentation, the band allow the album to drift slightly, with two bewitching instrumental works, Move On and Down Poured The Heavens, before offering one final push of uplifting energy with Arise.

Only the most churlish would dismiss this unashamedly romantic and achingly beautiful album as cheap sentiment.

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