Mercury Rev excels at creating epic rock soundscapes that mix late-period Beatles melodicism, shoegazer guitars, electronics, and a quirky sensibility with sparkling sonic detail. THE SECRET MIGRATION continues that tradition. From the opening track, "Secret for a Song," which begins with a gentle electronic murmur before bursting into an expansive wash of instruments (and singer Jonathan Donahue's distinctive voice), the album gives the sense of having entered a vast, deep cavern full of swirling spirits and imaginary, whispering creatures.
The lyrical content also draws the listener into this otherworld, referencing dark forests, shimmering leaves, white horses, vast oceans, and dragonfly rides. "Black Forest (Lorelei) evokes the classic imagery of fantasy novels, while the more personal "Diamonds" describes a kind of synesthesia in which stars, leaves, eyes, and hearts are melded into a single gesture of love. "Across Yer Ocean," one of the album's highlights, has a memorable melody that feels as wide as the song's central metaphor. Throughout THE SECRET MIGRATION, Mercury Rev avoids preciousness with the credibility and force of their music, which is sonically cohesive and absorbing.
Rolling Stone (p.78) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "THE SECRET MIGRATION seethes with life and loveliness..."
Spin (p.108) - "This is one big-sounding secret: rural psychedelic excess by upstate New York hobbits." -- Grade: B+
Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 - "THE SECRET MIGRATION is a brilliant, uncompromising exploration of devotion and wonder of surrender."