Trying to capitalize on the wave of popular British (or British sounding bands) of late (think Coldplay, Keane, the Killes, etc.), Columbia has decided to release Mercury, the debut album from Manchester’s Long-View. Here’s the kicker, though: This album was released in July of 2003 in England. While some acts have hit big in indie circles long after their initial album releases, such as Canada’s the Dears or England’s Clearlake, two years is a long time, especially when the band describes the album as having a “teenage sort of naivety.”
The anthemic songs in Mercury have garnered rave reviews from the likes of Q, NME, FHM UK and other assorted jumbles of letters. They’ve also been thrown into sentences with such bands as Coldplay (but then again who isn’t; I wouldn’t be surprised if, upon Coldplay’s new album release, writers were to be quoted as saying, `It’s great, but it’s no Coldplay.’), Joshua Tree-era U2, Elbow, Doves, and the Verve. Rob McVey’s voice is like Keane without the operatic drama, or Chris Martin without the Jeff Buckley high note flourishes. In other words, it’s somewhat monotone. I, for one, am supremely tired of hearing comparisons to bands that are far better than the band in question. Let’s put it on the table, shall we? Long-View is a Christian band whose sound is as far from the `Manchester’ sound as Silverchair was (distance-wise) from the Seattle sound. Mercury is the perfect album for those who think that Snow Patrol or Keane are too adventurous and imaginative.
The true star of Long-View’s album is Rick Parashar, the producer of Pearl Jam’s debut Ten, as well as work from Temple of the Dog, various MTV collections, as well as some of today’s bland pop-rockers. Parashar creates soaring rock landscapes without a lot of vocal flourish to help him out. McVey has a decent voice, but I suppose Parashar can’t expect a Vedder every time out.
The US release does differ slightly from the UK version, but not by much. Aside from mixing up the tracklist a bit, “Falling From You” is dumped in favor of newer track “In a Dream,” while first US single “When You Sleep” is given a new mix. First track and first UK single “Further” is one of the standout songs, heaped with hopeful strings and angelic backup voices, it lays on the sap with the chorus of “God’s love will save our lives (light?) / And we’ll come shining bright / God’s love will save our sun / And thy will be done.” Hey guys, the difference between U2’s lyrics and these are the mere fact that Bono employs symbolism. While it’s a well constructed song, I don’t like to be hit over the head. Just a note for your next album, which is probably just around the corner in England, but years away here. Whatever happened to the `global community’? All I’m asking is that I be able to pick up British Sea Power’s latest on the same day it hits HMV. Not too much to ask in my opinion.
Athlete- Vehicles & Animals
Elbow- Asleep in the Back
Haven- All For a Reason