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CD Reviews: Review of The Secret Migration by Mercury Rev
Paulsen Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Mercury Rev: The Secret Migration (V2/BMG 2005)

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The on-again/off-again Mercury Rev are back with their fifth effort, The Secret Migration. The record is the band’s first in four years and, spanning thirteen tracks over forty-four minutes, Migration is a dreamy, beautiful collection of catchy art-rock tunes that should win the group a new set of fans. Comparisons to The Flaming Lips are both inevitable and justifiable considering that Rev vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Donahue also serves as the Lips’ lead axeman. And the ties don’t stop there – Migration was produced by Rev bassist/producer Dave Fridmann, who also produced several Lips albums.

The opening track, “Secret For A Song,” is a wistfully majestic mini-orchestra that also serves as a good representative of the rest of the disc. The imagery is thick on the third track, “Black Forest (Lorelei),” with the lyrics “if I was a white horse / and offered you a ride / through a black forest.” However, the end result is quite enjoyable if the text is not taken too seriously – this rule applies for most of the disc. During the excellent “In A Funny Way,” the band uses a start/stop format that works well throughout the song. This format is used again with success in “The Climbing Rose,” an upwardly cascading love song.

Lyrically the disc is a little spotty – on “My Love” Donahue rambles in his off-key voice, “I hear of people living deep inside of the earth / they got their own sun and some claim they were here first,” which makes for interesting imagery, but doesn’t really have any discernable meaning within the context of the song. It’s not until the listener actually tries to understand the lyrics that this disconnect becomes apparent, which makes it, and all of Migration for that matter, excellent background music. Art-rock fans should check it out – Migration is one of those rare albums where there is something interesting for the listener on just about every track.

Key tracks: “Secret For A Song,” “In A Funny Way,” “The Climbing Rose” 

~John Paulsen 


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