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Boomkat Product Review:
Snowflake Midnight heralds another career turning point for the always beguiling, occasionally brilliant Mercury Rev, who jolt your expectations on opener 'Snowflake In A Hot World', an electronica jaunt cloaked in even more effects than usual, rendering Jonathan Donahue's voice utterly alien. Although the particular styling of the programmed beats and synth sounds would hardly be in-keeping with any current fads or recognizable trends, it's probably the slightly awkward, ordinariness of it all that'll keep this from becoming obsolete or anachronistic any time soon. Immediately after the jarringly synthetic introductory track, the band return to the kind of grandeur and heartstring-tugging bombast that characterized so much of Deserter's Songs and 'The Dark Is Rising' from All Is Dream. Once again, the electronic presence is pronounced, and the vocal inhumanly distorted, yet upon reaching its mighty crescendo you feel as though you're somehow back in familiar Mercury Rev territory. That said, Snowflake Midnight always feels like a departure, all the more so for producer Dave Fridmann, who's made such a fine job of roughing up recent indie rock thumpers from Tapes 'N' Tapes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. For much of this digitized, ethereal sonic dreamscape he's contending with peculiar, frosty drones and music that owes more to texture than actual melodic and rhythmic structure. Take for example 'People Are So Unpredictable (There's No Bliss Like Home)': it's the kind of thing you'd hear on a record by someone like Eluvium or perhaps Library Tapes. This being Mercury Rev though, they're never far away from some sort of epic flourish, sounding like a combination of Sigur Ros, Maps, Grizzly Bear and '90s Pink Floyd all at the same time during certain, especially bizarre instances, and while such surreal collisions will get you scratching your head, it'll also keep you hitting the play button again.