Longview- Mercury (Columbia)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. Further
2. Can't Explain
3. When You Sleep
4. In a Dream
5. Nowhere
6. I Would
7. Electricity
8. Still
9. One More Try
10. Falling for You
11. If You Asked
12. Will You Wait Here

This has to be one of the odder reviews I’ve ever done. Working with another magazine two years ago, I reviewed Longview’s Mercury, which was out in the UK on 14th Floor Records. I wasn’t sure how to frame the disc then, as it has some solid and amazing tracks, but in the end left me feeling that the entire disc was really one good long track. Nothing wrong with that, it was just a nagging footnote to what had at first seemed like a spectacular disc. But despite my reservations for Mercury’s hyper-consistency, it made my top 10 for that year.

Two years, and I suspect a good bit of record label drama later, Mercury has finally arrived on the shores of the US. Perhaps due in part to the success of Coldplay and Keane, perhaps having something to do with the fact that there was already a band here releasing discs under the moniker Longview, we are finally getting a taste of delicious Mercury. Longview have morphed into Long-View here, with both a hypen and an umlaut under the “o”, presumably to fend off the existing Longview’s lawyers.

Strangely, not only has their name changed, but so has their disc. Gone are the tracks Falling Without You and This Is, which frankly were forgettable in the first place, and in their place are the more interesting new tunes In A Dream and One More Try. Some of the other tracks have been significantly remixed, even to the extent of adding new (or at least entirely lost in the previous mix) backing vocals and guitar work. It is a radically different listening experience, and I’m thrilled to say it add some depth and dimension that was sorely lacking from the original UK release.

But rather than focus on what is new and different, let’s get to the music itself. After all, the majority of us were not silly enough to spend $25 on the first release. The outstanding track Further opens the disc in all of its orchestrated glory. It’s immediately catchy with a driving, memorable chorus and vocalist/ songwriter Rob McVey’s voice a smooth caress above the musical pomp that drives the track. Can’t Explain follows and is another shaker, but the chorus is still a little to close in approach to Further for my taste. The piano is a nice, subtle touch and the recursive “Waited for hours, hours turn to days, days turn to years, I’m still here” gets grafted onto the listener’s mind within one listen. A solid track, I’d just prefer it have a little more distance from the similar Further. When You Sleep is a more guitar-driven, aggressive track. The clean, crisp production and layering make this rather complex tune sound simple and cohesive. Lyrically things are lost in trite “I can’t forgets” and “You don’t know what you do to me’s”, but Mercury is really about the music. All three of these opening tracks are of single quality and begin to give Mercury something of a greatest hits feel.

A new track, In A Dream, sounds like a recent Embrace tune. It is anthemic and piano-driven, without the chanty choruses that precede it on the disc. It is a nice downtempo shift, giving Mercury and fullness that the UK version lacked. It has an element of that Coldplay power ballad sound, but I suspect most of these UK acts are feeling the pressure to deliver these right now. The edgy Nowhere follows and is something of a hybrid of When You Sleep and Can’t Explain, with its driving guitars and repetitive “You won’t try, you don’t care” chorus. Again, I would have preferred something with more differentiation, but it’s a great fucking track, so what can you say? If I heard the song on the radio, detached from the rest of Mercury, I would tap my feet, drive a little faster, and on some subconscious level appreciate life just a little more. And ain’t that what music is there for?

The rest of Mercury goes a long way to making this feel like some excellent compilation of a career’s work. I Would is a stunning, moving ballad- a soaring, emotional anchor also notable for the great line “I would bite off more than I could chew for you.” Electricity is another single-quality anthem, and sounds fuller and mightier than its UK counterpart. The other new track One More Try is another breath of fresh air- a jangly, upbeat pop tune that captures most of the elements that make Long-view interesting and spreads them across a single track.

In the end, Mercury is simply loaded with great songs. It is fuller and more interesting than the previous release, and will certainly appeal to fans of Britpop. I’m envious of folks who have not yet heard this release, because getting all of these great tunes at once will be almost narcotic. A great summer road trip album.

marillion- happiness is the road
tilt- million dollar wound
mickey simmonds- the seven colours of emptiness
ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
nosound- lightdark
dengue fever- venus on earth
art of all- morgan
marillion- somewhere else
abigails ghost- selling insincerity
blackfield- blackfield II
damien rice- 9
the who- endless wire
the beach boys- good vibrations
the pineapple thief- little man
the killers- sam's town
tom petty- highway companion
hem- funnel cloud
emm gryner- the summer of high hopes
jeremy enigk- world waits
razorlight- razorlight
gps- window to the soul
iron maiden- a matter of life and death
thom yorke- the eraser
richard butler- richard butler
the flaming lips- at war with the mystics
ray davies- other people's live
david gilmour- on an island
nosound- sol29
jackson browne- running on empty 5.1
neal morse- ?
king crimson- 21st century guide to king crimson
shriekback- cormorant
depeche mode- playing the angel
pallas- the dreams of men
my morning jacket- z
riverside- second life syndrome
roger waters- ca ira
various artists- backs against the wall
riverside- out of myself
sigur ros- takk
killers- hot fuss
queen + paul rodgers- return of the champions
journey- generations
yes- the word is live
emmylou harris- heartaches & highways
van der graaf generator- remaster series
rob dickinson- fresh wine for the horses
annie- anniemal
dredg- catch without arms
foo fighters- in your honor
dream theater- octavarium
belle and sebastian- push barman to open old wounds
the go-betweens- oceans apart
porcupine tree- up the downstair (remaster 2005)
coldplay- x & y
nine inch nails- with teeth
aimee mann- the forgotten arm
van der graaf generator- present
christopher o'riley- hold me to this
glen phillips- winter pays for summer
new order- waiting for the siren's call
ben folds- songs for silverman
john doe- forever hasn't happened yet
trashcan sinatras- fez
adrian belew- side one
kaki king - legs to make us longer
longview- mercury
stereophonics- language. sex. violence. other?
for against- echelons
over the rhine- drunkard's prayer
kathleen edwards- back to me
kasabian- kasabian
porcupine tree- deadwing
the wedding present- take fountain
super furry animals - songbook
arena- pepper's ghost
snow patrol- final straw
rpwl- world through my eyes
tori amos- the beekeeper
kino- picture
monarch- the grandeur that was rome
spocks beard- octane
the wonder stuff- escape from rubbish island
richard barbieri- things buried
the pineapple thief- 12 stories down
the pineapple thief- 8 days later
the innoncence mission- now the day is over
zero 7- when it falls
pain of salvation- be
california guitar trio- white water
jelly jam- 2
tim bowness- my hotel year
van halen- the best of both worlds
glen burtnik- welcome to hollywood
charlie mars- charlie mars
porcupine tree- voyage 34 (2004 remaster)
saint etienne- travel edition
lanterna- highways review
hellboys- cha cha with the hellboys review
persona non grata- the fine art of living review
tegan and sara- so jealous review
guadalcanal diary- 2x4 reissue review
voices in the wire- signals in transmission review
roger waters- to kill a child/ leaving beirut review
luna- rendezvous review
jim white- drill a hole in that substrate and tell me what you see review
the drive-by truckers- the dirty south review
the blue nile - high review
lovedrug- pretend you're alive review
twilight singers- she loves you review
keane- hope and fears review
winds- the imaginary direction of time review
kristeen young- x review
asia- silent nation review
macha- forget tomorrow review
crystal method- legion of boom dvd-audio review
kevin moore- ghost book review
marillion- don't hurt yourself singles review
attrition- dante's kitchen review
rush- feedback review
tortoise- it's all around you review
division of laura lee- does not compute review
peccatum- lost in reverie review
iq- dark matter review
bass communion- ghosts on magnetic tape review
the push stars- paint the town review
virgin black- elegant... and dying review
marillion- marbles review
the streets- a grand don't come for free review
the veils- the runaway found review
all about eve- let me go home review
john young band- live review
mary lou lord- baby blue review
the divine comedy- absent friends review
pink floyd- the final cut (2004 remaster) review
prot-kaw- before became after review
jeffrey gaines live review
mocean worker- enter the mowo review
starsailor- silence is easy review
pineapple thief- variations review
lloyd cole- music in a foreign language review
david sylvian- blemish review
spock's beard- feel euphoria eview
guy manning- press pack sampler review
magellan- impossible figures review
the tangent- the music that died alone review
john gorka- live from grace church photos and review
hothouse flowers- into your heart review
charlotte martin- on your shore review
rasputina- frustration plantation review
stellastarr*- stellastarr* review
vast- nude review
sparks- lil' beethoven review
the damnwells- bastards of the beat review
dave gahan- paper monsters review
king crimson- power to believe review
fish- field of crows review
porcupine tree- in absentia dvd-audio review
new model army- great expectations review
antimatter- unreleased 1998 - 2003 review
catie curtis: dreaming in romance languages review
the gathering- sleepy buildings review
twilight singers play blackberry belle review
vienna teng- warm strangers review
opeth- lamentations dvd review
courtney love- america's sweetheart review
blackfield review
anathema- a natural disaster review
nearfest 2003 coverage
neal morse solo photos- metuchen, nj
porcupine tree broadcast
alpha- stargazing review
david sylvian at the tla
emm gryner at the point
barry andrews at the tin angel
tweaker:2 am wakeup call review
cure- join the dots review
fish live from the tla with john wesley
spearhead- everyone deserves music review
miles hunt (wonderstuff) live

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