9 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Few albums in 2008 attempt the sonic grandeur pulled off by upstate NY’s Mercury Rev on Snowflake Midnight. It’s an ambitious maelstrom of production flourishes, instrumental dares, and melodic wanderings where the tunes flow and often interrupt themselves to find new footing. “People Are So Unpredictable” feasts on ambient, haunting tones and rhythmless moments of pastoral reflection, threatening to breakout for the cathartic moment, but mostly marinating in a psychedelic haze of ghostly voices and sci-fi soundtrack incidentals. Obviously influenced by Pink Floyd, the ‘70s German Krautrock movement, and the Flaming Lips (with whom Rev leader Jonathan Donahue was once a member), Mercury Rev rekindle the lost art and magic of improvisational and experimental rock where the overall concept trumps the individual moment. “October Sunshine” works as ominous New Age and continues into “Runaway Raindrop.” “Butterfly’s Wing” veers near the pop song. “Dream of a Young Girl as a Flower” treads eight minutes of luminous ground, immersing itself in instrumental chaos. This trio has the unusual power of an orchestra within its grasp.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Few albums in 2008 attempt the sonic grandeur pulled off by upstate NY’s Mercury Rev on Snowflake Midnight. It’s an ambitious maelstrom of production flourishes, instrumental dares, and melodic wanderings where the tunes flow and often interrupt themselves to find new footing. “People Are So Unpredictable” feasts on ambient, haunting tones and rhythmless moments of pastoral reflection, threatening to breakout for the cathartic moment, but mostly marinating in a psychedelic haze of ghostly voices and sci-fi soundtrack incidentals. Obviously influenced by Pink Floyd, the ‘70s German Krautrock movement, and the Flaming Lips (with whom Rev leader Jonathan Donahue was once a member), Mercury Rev rekindle the lost art and magic of improvisational and experimental rock where the overall concept trumps the individual moment. “October Sunshine” works as ominous New Age and continues into “Runaway Raindrop.” “Butterfly’s Wing” veers near the pop song. “Dream of a Young Girl as a Flower” treads eight minutes of luminous ground, immersing itself in instrumental chaos. This trio has the unusual power of an orchestra within its grasp.

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