Like one of the other reviewers, I was taken aback when I first heard this album, the problem being that my only other experience of Mercury Rev was 'Deserter's Songs', which is much different in style. I was ready for it the second time.
I think three of the four long tracks are superb. 'Chasing A Bee' is like a tornado of guitars with effects pedals at full throttle, with a calm, tiny voice in the eye of the storm, the whole underpinned by three repeated notes which give the song its structure. 'Sweet Oddysee...' is more like waves of rolling thunder; this is scary music. 'Frittering' is the best of the lot, surfing on a beautiful, two-chord acoustic riff while the obligatory grungy guitar creates a band of static-like background noise. 'Very Sleepy Rivers' is the only reason I don't give the album full marks. For me, it doesn't have the distinctive edge of the other tracks and consumes the last twelve minutes of the album, creating an anti-climax.
The shorter tracks all have something to commend them, the stomping 'Syringe Mouth' and the quieter 'Blue And Black' in particular. For the most part, 'Yerself Is Steam' is a great piece of early nineties psychedelia.