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The Mercury Tree — Countenance
((Not on label) no#, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-02-26

Countenance Cover artCharting a course somewhere in the waters between math rock, progressive rock, indie rock, and metal is The Mercury Tree. The sound has elements in common with such diverse bands as Cheer-Accident, Tortoise, Minus the Bear, and Porcupine Tree, and all the elements are seamlessly integrated into a tasty blend. All aspects are superbly rendered: the rhythms precise without being mechanical, the lead and harmony vocals perfecly on pitch, the blend of guitar and keyboard parts clever and complementary, and the production pristine and clear, with every part able to shine. For the most part, the compositions are of moderate length, stating their case and not hanging around so long as to wear out their welcome — these musicians are not prone to instrumental solos, so the sections between vocal parts are arranged out of interlocking motifs and varying riffs rather than flashy posturing. The flash comes in the little flourishes at the changes of sections, with an understated flurry of 32nd notes on the guitar that's past almost before you know it happened. The atmosphere is varied by tracks like "The Ellsberg Cycle" with its ringing acoustic guitar and percussion backing lush masses of vocals. This band just keeps getting better with each release, honing their craft and coming up with great tunes. Proof positive that innovative music can come from anywhere, even Oregon.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): The Mercury Tree

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