From The Vapor Of Gasoline
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Hailing from Gainesville, the Mercury Program offer a follow up to their critically acclaimed debut. Recorded by Andy Baker (Macha, Mendoza Line) in Athens, GA, this record clearly shows the band's progression as songwriters and musicians. They've added a piano and vibraphone to this recording and successfully weave jazz induced-induced drums with rhythmic basslines and off-time guitars.
You can draw parallels, sure. "Re-inventing A Challenge For Machines", with its gentle melody and off-beat guitars, recalls the distrait experimentalism of ex-Don Caballero members, Storm And Stress. "Leaving Capitol City For Good" is like an American version of the slightly mischievous Bristol collective (Flying Saucer Attack, Movietone) or Joe Meek's 1960s visions--albeit a version with its own distinct nationality. That's it, though. From The Vapor Of Gasoline, the second effort from the Mercury Program, is like the fuzzy soundtrack to a French film. Jazz-influenced drum beats, vibraphone and guitar harmonics resonate round structures bewildering in their complexity; songs are soundscapes echoing across genres. The group may hail from Athens, Georgia, but the music sounds like it's from another world altogether. --Everett True
Top Customer Reviews
Everyone agrees that this band is a particular sound that originated from Gainesville Florida. (Some say a mix of emo- Sunny Day Real Estate, crossed with the Jam capabilities of Phish). I've witnessed live Mercury Program shows and they never have ceased to amaze me with their intensity and talent. Each member brings a particular and important part to the album. The vocalist/guitarist has a mathmatical approach to composing the sounds. He is surrounded by one of the best drummers you haven't heard of, with an organist and bassist (who happen to be brothers) who secure the beautiful rock melodies that leave all listeners in awe.
Songs built on a foundation of instrumental math can't go wrong.
And a beauty it is. The bare-bones minimalism of the music is hinted at in the simplicity of the artwork. More xylophone on this release serve to add to the sleepy-time feel of the entire album. Yet there are songs which move. I love how the vocals are muted and how they blend in with the instrumentation--the lyrics, while interesting, are secondary to the music, and are a mere accompaniment to the overall presentation.
There are times when the guitarwork is remiscent of (dare I say?) early Yes, and there are passages where June of 44 and similar bands have been influential, but then one's focus is pulled from that as they launch into something unexpected, delivered with a gracious force.
This is indeed the best kept secret of the indie music world, as a previous reviewer so aptly wrote. I'd recommend this to anyone, even if they aren't necessarily a fan of indie music per se...
Most recent customer reviews
This is a wonderful album, fusion done right for those of us who cut our teeth on rodan, not the weather report. Read morePublished on March 11 2001 by Iain T. Cartwright
I had been looking for a cd that was instrumental with a little singing that i could listen to then go to sleep to and the mercury program was what i was looking for. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2000