The Secret Migration

If Deserter’s Songs was Mercury Rev’s tribute to the cosmic Americana of the late 60s, then The Secret Migration is the Rev’s pop paean to 70s progressive rock.

And I am not merely making this reference only to the music with its allusions to Yes, (early) ELO and Genesis but also to the slightly otherworldly lyrics.

So Jonathan Donahue sings on “Black Forest (Lorelei)” – ‘If I was a white horse...and offered you a ride...Thru a black forest’ and it is almost impossible not to conjure images of fantasy novels but this time surrounded by a piano pattern based on “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” even as Steve Howe-styled guitar lines meander through the track’s inventive instrumental passages.

Or take the slightly offbeat “My Love” where sentences like ‘I hear of people living deep inside of the earth/They got their own sun and some claim they were here first/I've struggled with an old angel all night long/I thought it might be nice if you stayed here till dawn’ trade quips with reflections on relationships.

By and large, Donahue’s focused concern revolves around love and relationships without any reference to our modern world. So, it’s all about idyllic scenes, fairy tale settings and gorgeous albeit alien environments.

This is expressly beautifully on the ethereal and fragile “Across Yer Ocean” and in its lovely chorus, ‘And I bleed and I feel that it's all too real/On a wave of emotion sending ships across yer ocean/And I've lost all my reasons...but it's you I can...believe in’ But the Rev also realize the value of light relief and it provides one in the shape and form of the psychedelic jaunty “In A Funny Way,” with mirrored lyrics to boot – ‘Thru the fields an the streams an the lakes an the trees/An the grass an the logs run all my dogs/And I am home again.’ Indeed.

And with the 1:37 minute-long hymn-like closer “Down Poured the Heavens,” you’ll know that you have experienced something enchanting yet haunting. Kudos to Mercury Rev for this mighty step in its considerable musical evolution. A+