Release Date: May 17, 2005
Record label: V2
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
It's funny how love can be both incredibly intimate and universal-feeling at the same time. Mercury Rev try to express this paradox on their first album in four years, The Secret Migration, and if any band could capture that dichotomy, it's them: on Deserter's Songs and All Is Dream, they found a way to blend the epic sound that they'd been known for since the days of Boces and See You on the Other Side with more personal songwriting. Unfortunately, they don't quite achieve this tricky balancing act this time.
Long before the sixth album by Mercury Rev is out of the CD case, you start to fear the worst. The problem lies with the cover picture: an airbrushed image of a moth with eyeballs staring out of its wings, a heavy-lidded pixie's face instead of a body and a scroll bearing Latin text wafting around its antenna. It makes The Secret Migration look like something you might have found in a student bedsit around the time of the three-day week, nestling between Emerson Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery and something unspeakable by Jethro Tull.
Not to overuse any clichés, but Mercury Rev have indeed had a strange trip of it. Playing their debut Yerself is Steam before their latest The Secret Migration is an interesting exercise in "Uh...this isn't the same band, is it?,” which is either a tribute to the group's evolution or an indictment of their intentions, depending on one's inclinations. Since second-guessing intentions is a loser's exercise, I'll grant the band the benefit of the doubt, and go with the flow.