There is much conjecture surrounding 'Deserter's Songs', the forthcoming Mercury Rev album - in particular its protracted gestation - but it seems even certain band members have ...

Product Overview

29/8/98

Product:

29/8/98

THERE IS MUCH CONJECTURE surrounding ‘Deserter’s Songs’, the forthcoming Mercury Rev album – in particular its protracted gestation – but it seems even certain band members have found the process frustrating. Guitarist Sean ‘Grasshopper’ Mackowiak, for instance, decided he could squeeze the trifling matter of a solo record into the punishing schedule. Its agreeable but essentially undemanding aura merely serves to re-emphasise the efficacy of the mother group’s lunatic chemistry.

Assisted principally by Rev flautist Suzanne Thorpe – she co-produces – Grasshopper has fashioned a more whimsical, somewhat lower-fi and altogether less portentous brand of proto-symphonic psychedelia. Emoting in thin, reedy tones, he lends these dependably blissed schemes a bashful sort of focus.

Yet inconsistency – be it of application, songwriting acumen, or both – is the project’s undoing. The smattering of instrumental doodles, possibly conceived as links between the more conventional compositions, instead casts aspersions on the redoubtability of the Grasshopper muse. For every lustrous swirling folly like ‘The Ballad Of The One-Eyed Angelfish’ or ‘NY Avenue Playground’ there is an altogether more perfunctory stab at two-minute fuzzy pop perfection. Opener ‘Silver Balloons’ sounds like an Ultra Vivid Scene demo. Not a bad thing [I]per se[/I], but uh, y’know, one could safely live without it.

Its relative proximity to the imminent ‘Deserter’s Songs’ was maybe bound to damn Grasshopper’s dalliance with some invidious comparisons. So here goes: while the staggering new Rev album prepares to remap the pop cosmos, ‘The Orbit Of Eternal Grace’ asserts its own inoffensive, hardly substantial presence rather low down in the evening sky.