The stock is rising for The Mercury Program no doubt. This Floridian quartet has managed to do something very few bands in its class have been able to accomplish. They have put out a steady string of releases over the last three years that capture not only growth, but also ties back to their origin in terms of both sound and structure. Instrumental rock music is not often easy to keep interesting or poignant but the Mercury Program succeeds in both.
The five tracks on this album, all instrumental, relay the fact that The Mercury Program makes music that is driving. Tom Reno’s guitar takes you places that are almost unimaginable. He takes you into the atmosphere and inside molecules and the wind as it rushes across the windshield of a traveling car. This music is moving. The addition of permanent piano and vibraphone has only made the whole more expansive, taking you deeper into the nature of earth.
The Mercury Program is the music of America. It is grand and bright-eyed. It wants to take you everywhere. It also tends to be clever and ironic. The powerful guitar soloing and the consistent hammering of the vibraphone on “The Secret to Quiet” creates the realization that you are not in for a dull hum but a masterpiece. “There Are Thousands Sleeping in Peace” is the nature of sleep taking you first into the lull of the pre-REM state and then exploding with the rapid motions that then bring one into a deeper slumber building towards the curious world of dreams. The Mercury Program goes farther into the subconscious with its complex patterns and stitch work. The final track of this five song masterpiece, “A Delicate Answer”, is an epic that can ponders “what was the question and is it nearly as beautiful and telling?” The song starts off simply and builds slowly revealing more of the details of this intimate musical answer.
Composition has gone by the way side in modern guitar-driven music. There is not a lot of room for bands to say something without being loud and obnoxious. Many times these rock clichés are not only played out but are very devoid of meaning. The Mercury Program has stepped away from tradition of boredom and made big steps everywhere. The aesthetic is enough to make you wonder, the greatness is enough to make you smile.
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// Sound Affects
"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.READ the article