Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Mercury Program - s/t

This 1999 debut from The Mercury Program still sounds as fresh as if it were released yesterday. The band brings an intelligent blend of post-rock, jazz, and punk to the table. Borrowing ambient and jazz elements of Tortoise, the loudness of Don Caballero, and the daydream-like soundscapes of Explosions In The Sky, there is little here not to like. Occasional vocals punctuate the songs, being delivered in a style that is almost spoken-word poetry. Distorted guitars, open drums, and earthy bass come together to bring an intensity and delicacy that is a rarity in music today. The addition of vibraphone adds a haunting new dimension to many songs. There’s even a sweet bossa-nova jam thrown in just for good measure! This is an album to listen to with the lights dimmed, watching the depressing Rochester snow fall across the window. It gives the listener a sense of calm hope that is the perfect deterrent to winter depression.


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