Album Review: ‘Snowflake Midnight’ by Mercury Rev
Almost twenty years into their turbulent career, Mercury Rev has outdone itself even by its own standards with the bands latest offering, Snowflake Midnight. Beamed down from space and into your speakers, Snowflake Midnight’s nine songs all possess an otherworldly sense of transience made all the more numinous by singer/guitarist Jonathan Donahue’s trebly, ethereal vocals. Tracks like the paradoxical “Snowflake in a Hot World” ruminate on transformations within nature, and the delicate state of elements in crystallized stasis.
While the epic “People Are So Unpredictable (There’s No Bliss Like Home)” observes that even in our most uncertain moments, there is always something—in this case, the idea of “home”—to give us comfort during life’s downturns. Sonically, the music matches up to the grandiose themes. Ambient waves wash over electronic pulses before being capsized by monumental rock-opera breakdowns, only to be softened up and smoothed over again. In this sense, there is a cyclical aspect to Snowflake Midnight that is no happy accident on the band’s part, but instead a fully realized scoring of the unpredictability of nature and all its wondrous transitions and transformations.