“Are You Ready?” is a tantalizing taste from Mercury Rev's upcoming The Light in You.
John Bergstrom: Who could have predicted that shoegaze would make such a comeback? Mercury Rev deliver a tasty blast of it here on their first new music in seven years. The in-between parts are unabashedly cheesy. Jonathan Donahue, sounding more than ever like Neil Young, actually uses the word “shindig” at one point. Still, for my money I’d much rather hear Mercury Rev singing about blue-eyed soul than Tame Impala trying to perform it. [7/10]
Dustin Ragucos: The two voices that permeate the song can really make listeners wonder whether they have disturbed voices in their head. On one hand, new listeners of Mercury Rev might be put off by Jonathan Donahue's voice. His vocals feel like Tom Kenny, the man that plays SpongeBob SquarePants, took a surprised career change from voice acting to singing. On the other hand, there's a rather possessed woman repeating the title of the song, almost lifelessly. The video brings reminders of manic pixie dream girls, while poking at imagery within James Bond films. The rocking guitar and slippery bass contrast the more slowed down portions of the woman's trance. The imagining of choosing jukebox hits to jam to is one thing, but the realistically awkward process that the words envision is another. Still, the lyrics give life to this sensual video. [7/10]
John Garratt: It's funny that Mercury Rev name one of their new songs "Are You Ready?" Their fans have been ready for new material since 2008! This single, pleasant and energetic as it is, serves as a reminder that we are long past the days when pop bands went through any impressive metamorphoses within an eight year period. Nowadays, bands lay low for eight years and rarely end up retooling any part of their sound when they finally decide to haul their asses back into the studio. At least Jonathan Donahue doesn't try to be tongue-in-cheeky when singing about "psychedelic rock in blue-eyed soul". [6/10]
Chris Gerard: It’s been seven long years since the last Mercury Rev album, Snowflake Midnight, so a return for the dream-pop band is welcome indeed. “Are You Ready?” is a tantalizing taste from their upcoming The Light in You. It has a vast sound, more immediate and less fanciful than much of the band’s work but still with a measure of whimsy. Jonathan Donahue’s voice, and the sweeping melody, are the threads that connect it to the band’s prior work. “Are You Ready?” is beguiling question which can only have one answer: Yes, we are. Bring on the album. [8/10]
Will Rivitz: I can't get through a verse without coming close to succumbing to the nagging voice at the back of my head screaming at me to rip out my headphones. It suffers from what I usually call "prog syndrome" - annoying sonic touches like overbearing pitch correction and fluttery, substanceless lyrics which are only really defensible with the argument "oh, but it's prog rock!" Either I just don't get it or prog listeners have a steelier stomach than I do for this stuff. But then the chorus (I suppose?) comes in and I'm glad I haven't turned the music off, because it fucking rocks, barreling through the flatness of the verses with at least twenty Gs of force. I don't know if I'd be able to stomach much more than five minutes of this rollercoaster feeling, but, hey, I guess it's good that it ends when it does, right? [7/10]