"The world wasn't exactly waiting for another Mercury Rev record," says frontman Jonathan Donahue. See You on the Other Side, the 1995 album from the Buffalo, NY band, had performed poorly, which put Donahue in a dark place, all the while almost splitting up the sextet. He retreated at home in the Catskill Mountains and re-revisited some of his favorite records, which lead to Donahue recording some rough demos, and that was the start of Deserter's Songs, the 4th LP from Mercury Rev, originally released in 1998. Lush and dreamlike, the brilliant 12-tracker explores the most psychedelic & immersive sides of pop. The tracks are strange and beautiful: sorta like Disney tunes but with poisoned cores. Mellotron, Chamberlin, saw, woodwinds and brass make for a grand backdrop, and combined w/ Donahue's vocals, the tracks blurt out a bevy of emotions, from the hopeful and romantic to aching & melancholic. Check out the powerful opener "Holes," or the jarring "Opus 40" & "Endlessly." "Tonite It Shows" and "Goddess On a Hiway" are also highlights, and the the bleak piano playing in "I Collect Coins" is one of the most memorable moments on the record.
- music label: Excelsior Melodies 1998 / 2018
reviewed by singing in japanese 01/19