Seven years since the rather cold and introspective 'Snowflake Midnight', Mercury Rev are back with a more jolly prospect.
In style it's more a continuation of the half-real pixieland style they first cemented on 2001's 'All Is Dream' – heavy on the orchestration and light on the more organic feel than their incredible 1998 high-point 'Deserter's Songs'. Not to say it's bad, far from it – 'The Light In You' is a beautiful record, but it's challenging to imagine that this version of Mercury Rev can win them hordes of new fans in 2015. We hope it can, because Mercury Rev have always deserved more kudos than they've got.
'You've Gone With So Little For So Long' is heavenly; an exploration of tragedy and longing that only Jonathan Donahue can deliver. 'Are You Ready' uses female vocals to deliver one of biggest choruses the band have put out in some time, all nestled between verses filled with Donahue's trademark narration of a romance between the listener and a lover who leaves an indelible mark on your soul.
It's not all beauty though. Even a mention of Derek & Clive and the line "bring me the ear of Thurston Moore" can't save the Wham Rap-style rhyming forced into the middle of the otherwise euphoric closer 'Rainy Day Record'. It's delivered in a way that lets the listener know they're in on the joke too – but it seems a strangely throwaway thing with which to end an album when you know that these guys have moments in their back catalogue that are emotionally devastating in their musical allure.
While it's lovely to have them back, this album is more of a pleasant addition to the Mercury Rev catalogue than a defining moment.
Words: James Barry
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