See You On The Other Side

Mercury Rev

The WORK Group, 1995

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


On their third record and first without frontman David Baker, New York’s Mercury Rev turned in one of their most unique and almost accessible releases to date. Jonathan Donahue takes over vocals and his style really helps brings the songs to life. The rest of the band – guitarist Grasshoper, flautist Suzanne Thorpe, drummer Jimy Chambers and multi-instrumentalist Dave Fridmann – really sound like a tight, cohesive unit and the songs sound good and extremely different.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The seven-minute opener “Empire State (Son House In Excelsis)” is an atypical Rev track; the first couple of minutes pass like a great pop song with some great flute work, but then it dissolves into a heavy, full-on rock assault with some great drumming from Chambers. On the other extreme hand, “Close Encounters Of The 3rd Grade” sounds like one of those ‘90s workout dance tracks that one hears at Gold’s Gym at 10 in the morning. “Young Man’s Stride” sounds like one of the great lost alternative rock radio hits of the time period. Very heavy, very straightforward, it stands as one of the best tracks on the record.

“Everlasting Arm” was one of the main tracks that critics picked up on back in 1995, but twenty years later, it comes across as average and not really much of a standout. “Sudden Ray Of Hope,” however, is one of those dreamy, almost shoegaze type tracks that the band reveled in during their heyday.

Many people look at the follow-up, 1998’s Deserter’s Songs as the definitive Rev release, but this one is the one that made its follow-up possible. See You On The Other Side juts out into different genres and is willing to experiment all over the place, showing that the band was incredibly comfortable in their own skin.

Rating: B

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