Mercury Rev 

Snowflake Midnight, Strange Attractor

For its first album(s) in almost four years, Mercury Rev has more or less ditched the idea of trying to sound like a band and dove full-on into the psychedelic-electronic rabbit hole. The results are really something — if you played Snowflake Midnight next to one of the band's early-'90s guitar-noise workouts, you'd think the two were recorded centuries apart. (Technically they were.) In a way, these tracks have more in common with those early blasts than with their well-regarded attempts at Americana, in that song structures have been thrown out the window in favor of high drama, and a whole different kind of noise. Snowflake marks the beginning of the third act for a band that has been defined by change throughout its perplexing career.

Companion piece Strange Attractor, available as a free download from the band's web site, is the Amnesiac to Snowflake's Kid A ... sort of. Or maybe it's the other way around. Made up of eleven instrumental pieces and experimental soundscapes, Attractor at points recalls Dots and Loops-era Stereolab and Eno's ambient works, both favorably. Tune into Snowflake Midnight; drop out to Strange Attractor.

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