on 1 February 2000
Purveyors of sweet tunes and sour dissonance in the hoary tradition of The Velvet Underground, Pere Ubu and Sonic Youth (to name but one band a decade), New York's Mercury Rev collage contrasting moods to carnival or perhaps madhouse effect. An exemplary opener to their second album, Meth Of A Rockette's Kick recreates prime Brit-psychedelia with Traffic-like flute, wonky piano, tuba and children's chant, but a drone of squalling electric guitar distances us at once from any straightforward embrace of the pastoral, harmonious and nice. The emotions instead conjured are so very paradoxical and subtle that words fail (which is why, one assumes, Mercury Rev are musicians), and the band further shun the obvious in their use of singer, David Baker. Not for them the upfront focus of a singer but rather a peripheral presence who insinuates where others assert. Dwelling where the sinister cohabits with the pretty, Mercury Rev weave mellow after-dinner music for the post-Goth set.