Exposé Online banner

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

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Berne - Science Friction – The current direction of modern saxophone icon Tim Berne began in 2002 with this eight piece CD featuring his world class multi-talented quartet. Studio versions of “Huevos,” and “Manatee...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues