The Mercury Tree — Countenance
((Not on label) no#, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-02-26Charting 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.
Related artist(s): The Mercury Tree
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
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
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 Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more