Elevate Difference

The Essential Mercury Rev: Stillness Breathes (1991-2006)

When groups like Mercury Rev come to mind, one cannot deny that a band with such a rich discography and history has had obvious influence on other groups that emerged from their sound. The songs on The Essential Mercury Rev vary from lo-fi to jazz, at times, and the mood meanders from melancholy to whimsical from song to song. Upon listening to the double-disc set, it is apparent that Mercury Rev made way for more modern bands like Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins. Their sounds are similar, pairing a somber kind of lyrical tone with songs that maintain a common theme of a kind of happy sadness.

The songs on the first disc of The Essential Mercury Rev do not contain their earlier work, but the albums provide strong examples of their work despite the lack of presence of their more psychedelic songs. The second disc offers their versions of covers by the likes of David Bowie, Neil Young and the Chemical Brothers, to name a few. I felt as though the second disc was not necessarily imperative to the set as a whole, but fans will surely be happy with these songs that are otherwise considered rarities.

Often compared to bands like the Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth, Mercury Rev have proved their prominence in international music culture. The sound that they have so richly crafted still holds up today, and this album is a testament to that.

Written by: Lauren Begnaud, March 12th 2007