Mercury Rev: The Light In You

Buffalo’s finest return with a spring in their step.

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Quarter of a century after their feral, genre-defying debut Yerself Is Steam, surviving Rev founders Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper prove theirs is a light that never goes out.

It builds slowly, with Donahue’s vocals so innocent he might be auditioning for Disney. Yet from the plaintive swoon of Central Park East, everything ratchets up a gear, and with the gravitas patented on Deserter’s Songs, the intensity and passion blindside you. Autumn’s In The Air is a haze of sunstroke, and Rainy Day Record a homage to the lost thrill of a teenager buying his first vinyl. Mercury Rev have tapped into that thrill again.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.