Artist: Mercury Rev

Date Released: March 8, 2005

Label: V2

Produced By: Dave Fridmann


  1. Secret for a Song
  2. Across Yer Ocean
  3. Diamonds
  4. Black Forest (Lorelei)
  5. Vermillion
  6. In the Wilderness
  7. In a Funny Way
  8. My Love
  9. Moving On
  10. The Climbing Rose
  11. Arise
  12. First-Time Mother's Joy (Flying)
  13. Down Poured the Heavens


I’ve never seen “Lord of the Rings.” And when I say that, I mean I’ve never seen any of them. I read the first book, and told myself I’d see the movies all together, but then I realized that I just didn’t care about them at all. That’s kind of how I feel about Mercury Rev: I told myself I’d sit down and listen to Boces or All is Dream one day, but then I realized I had other, more important things to hear and they just never became a priority.

But lo, an angel from above appeared and said, “You simply MUST get the feeling for what these two giants of American entertainment are like!” The catch was, I had to listen to Mercury Rev playing the soundtrack to “Lord of the Rings.” Thus was borne The Secret Migration, and so it was, and here I am.

Let’s go over the facts: Mercury Rev definitely have Dave Fridmann producing this album, Mercury Rev definitely are writing a Pagan mystic’s soundtrack to existence, and Mercury Rev definitely still do not have David Baker. All of these things could be seen as positives, but it seems like the band really is suffering at the hands of stagnation. Yeah, the packaging is beautiful and the artwork is lovely, but if a Mercury Rev fan can buy this as a serious attempt at medieval romance reincarnated as chiming psych-rock garb, that fan probably has some serious addictions to illegal drugs.

Taken on its own and completely dissociated from the rest of the canon, The Secret Migration is a noble failure of an album, (hopefully) exorcising the wanderlust and worship from Jonathan Donahue’s lyric book. In relation to their back catalogue, this is a sad, sad nadir in an epic career. Sometimes bad press on an album is just because of the hype, but for The Secret Migration, it is my unfortunate duty to inform you that this album shares more than a few things in common with “Lord of the Rings:” Primarily, any bad press is warranted... And also, I hate it. - Patrick Masterson

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