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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All is dreamy songs, 19 July 2005
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Deserter's Songs/All Is Dream (Audio CD)
Mercury Rev is not like other rock bands. Nowhere to be found is either punky catchiness or moody depression, that bands like Travis and the Futureheads have made a living off of. Instead, as shown in the "Deserter's Songs/All Is Dream" two pack, they prefer symphonic rock'n'roll with a fairy tale twist.

"Deserters' Song" is their crowning jewel so far: a dark, bluesy album full of dreams, moonlit sands, leaving behind the city, and love that you're losing. None of that sounds terribly interesting -- that's where the music kicks in. A delicate, expansive, polished sound, full of epic sound sweeps, smashing drums and bass, and mournful vocal calls, although it's broken by a by some lo-fi pop, and an acid-jazzy song.

"All Is Dream" is an appropriate name for the follow-up. It's not as expansive and impressive as the previous album, eschewing epic misery in favor of a fantastical, happier pop sound. Eerie sound effects echo over the tight melodies, and the songs are less grounded in reality -- there are vague visions of running over "snakelike" paths, constellations, pharoahs, dragons and much more.

Mercury Rev is one of those bands that really can't be compared to anything but itself. The closest I can come to a comparison is that they sound like the soundtrack to an unusually good fantasy movie. While they occasionally have dud moments (what is up with the acid jazz and twee pop?), most of the time they are spot-on.

Which one is better? It depends on the standards. Some may prefer the expansive, melancholy sound of "Songs," while others might love the fantasy edge of "All Is Dream," despite its less epic sound. Both are definitely above standard, however, with exquisitely complex music and well-written songwriting.

Basic instruments like guitar, bass, piano and drums are backed up with everything needed to create that eerie, epic sound: chamberlin strings, mellotron, wurtlitzer, harpsichord, flute and clarinet. But be forewarned: Jonathan has a high, somewhat nasal voice that isn't quite in tune with the music. It takes some getting used to.

"Deserter's Songs" and "All Is Dream" are two of the best albums by Mercury Rev, melding their lush melancholy with their fantastical dreams. Good stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When all was dreamy, 24 Jun. 2006
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Mercury Rev is not like other rock bands. Nowhere to be found is either punky catchiness or moody depression, that bands like Travis and the Futureheads have made a living off of. Instead, as shown in the "Deserter's Songs/All Is Dream" two pack, they prefer symphonic rock'n'roll with a fairy tale twist.

"Deserters' Song" is their crowning jewel so far: a dark, bluesy album full of dreams, moonlit sands, leaving behind the city, and love that you're losing. None of that sounds terribly interesting -- that's where the music kicks in. A delicate, expansive, polished sound, full of epic sound sweeps, smashing drums and bass, and mournful vocal calls, although it's broken by a by some lo-fi pop, and an acid-jazzy song.

"All Is Dream" is an appropriate name for the follow-up. It's not as expansive and impressive as the previous album, eschewing epic misery in favor of a fantastical, happier pop sound. Eerie sound effects echo over the tight melodies, and the songs are less grounded in reality -- there are vague visions of running over "snakelike" paths, constellations, pharoahs, dragons and much more.

Mercury Rev is one of those bands that really can't be compared to anything but itself. The closest I can come to a comparison is that they sound like the soundtrack to an unusually good fantasy movie. While they occasionally have dud moments (what is up with the acid jazz and twee pop?), most of the time they are spot-on.

Which one is better? It depends on the standards. Some may prefer the expansive, melancholy sound of "Songs," while others might love the fantasy edge of "All Is Dream," despite its less epic sound. Both are definitely above standard, however, with exquisitely complex music and well-written songwriting.

Basic instruments like guitar, bass, piano and drums are backed up with everything needed to create that eerie, epic sound: chamberlin strings, mellotron, wurtlitzer, harpsichord, flute and clarinet. But be forewarned: Jonathan has a high, somewhat nasal voice that isn't quite in tune with the music. It takes some getting used to.

"Deserter's Songs" and "All Is Dream" are two of the best albums by Mercury Rev, melding their lush melancholy with their fantastical dreams. Good stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars their greatest hits in a box, 2 April 2007
By 
This review is from: Deserter's Songs/All Is Dream (Audio CD)
Mercury Rev are one of the best kept secrets. They transcend the indie/alternative tag with a sublime mix of vocals and instrumentation that defies pidgeon-holing. Lyrically and musically they are beyond boundaries. This music deserves to be heard by a much wider audience. The two albums here are the best of the Mk 2 version.The music is the sound of a group of musicians who are comfortable with and trusting of each other. The result is some truly magnificent out of this world imagery. No one who professes to like music will fail to be moved by what they hear on either of these discs. Ignore the musical interludes and head for the proper songs. You will be rewarded each time you play these discs. Played on a proper hi-fi setup and the subtleties within the music are unearthed to strartling effects, creating a lush soundscape of haunting melodies and superb vocals. Point of reference for beginners - Kate Bush in session with The Band, playing the Cocteau Twins.
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Deserter's Songs/All Is Dream
Deserter's Songs/All Is Dream by Mercury Rev (Audio CD - 2004)
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