Deserter's Songs is a sonically engineered hybrid of all thatís been
brilliant in pop music since the 1960s, but adds the band's own
originality. Mercury Rev have the courage to overcome potential banality through the
use of instruments like flugel horns and even a bowed saw.
The traditional Rev sleaze factor and infighting has disappeared, in
favour of inspirational tunes with Jonathan Donahue's voice endowing
them with an ethereal quality. The lyrical rhyming may be forced in
places and some of the songs don't live up to the rest of the album,
but the overall effect is barely diluted. Commercial success may elude
Deserter's Songs but critical admiration has deservedly been theirs
and will continue to be so.
When they sing on Holes:
"Bands, those funny little plans
that never quite work right"
....they could never have guessed how wrong they were.
by Neil Callanan