Mercury Rev releases their first album in seven years with The Light in You. This new LP retains some of the old psychedelic and alternative traits of traditional Mercury Rev yet experiments with orchestral and indie influences. This is particularly apparent in songs such as ‘Are You Ready’ and ‘Emotional Free Fall’, with the latter going further by introducing elements of funk into a tight rhythm section.
The Light in You is an album that picks up pace, with the more energetic songs such as ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Rainy Day Record’ falling into the latter third of the record. Instead the record opens with a collection of ballads, with an intense focus on melody and instrumentation. While ‘The Queen of Swans’ is a fairly strong opening, there are some songs such as ‘Amelie’ that teeter on the edges of dirge. This is not helped by the monotonous refrain of “Amelie, unlock the door.”
In fact, many of the lyrics in The Light in You fail to capture the mood conveyed by the music. ‘Coming out for air’ provides us with the asinine “dolphin, just another dolphin, like all the other dolphins out there swimming” and ‘Autumn’s in the Air’ gives us “brushing back the tears across the canvas of my face” which is pretentious almost to the extent of self-parody.
However, as with most Mercury Rev albums, its strength lies in how distinctive the sound is. Few artists can emulate the sheer textual complexity that Mercury Rev goes for, and while sometimes the sound can be muddy when too many instruments and sound effects are layered on top of each other, a lot of the time it is impressive. Thus while The Light in You has some weaknesses, this is still a decent listen.