Sunday, December 10, 2006

All your feelings are streaming down your leg...

#16 - Mercury (The Prayer Chain) 1995

I want to warn you, because I'm about to say something that may be blasphemous to some of you. However, unless you've listened to this album for more than a month, you can't say anything at all:
Mercury may have been, in many ways, the "Christian" rock version of Radiohead's Kid A.
Yes, I said it. How long have I thought that? About 5 minutes, as I was listening to "Humb" before typing. But, consider the similarities:
1) An all-or-nothing approach to deviate not only from their previous works but the music industry itself.
2) Experimental sounds reshaping the way we listen to music.
3) Origination so ahead of itself that the album takes at least 10 listens before fully grasping it's imagination.

Ok, I won't be so dramatic, but I will say that Mercury is an almost indescribable album. What does Kid A sound like? I don't know, but it feels like Mercury. Sadly, Mercury was probably too brilliant for the Christian industry. Perhaps Papa Shoe can back me up on this one, but this is the only album in my collection that took me one year to actually enjoy. Yes, one full year. Remember, Shawl was once considered my favorite album, but then these boys drop the bomb with Mercury, a numbing collection of reverb and creepiness that takes months to sink not only into your ears, but into your soul as well. This is truly a "concept" album if there ever was one, as the disc is bookended by the very similar "Humb" and "Sun Stoned", while "Sky High", a nine-minute cigarette-lighter rock anthem, fills in the middle. However, the real high for me is the title track Mercury (great base line), a song that will forever remind me of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles (or maybe that's the inside jacket cover?). To quote the AllMusic review, this "record feels like a horror film". It really does, but sometimes it's good to face your fears ("my incisors are filed, I really think you are safe to let me close; I want to travel every bendy line from your throat to your heel").
Top Tracks: Mercury, Grylliade, Bendy Line, Sky High, Sun Stoned

4 comments:

daniel.brantley said...

agreed. i actually gave the album away to the friend who turned me onto the prayer chain. his copy had melted after sitting in a steamy hot van for a few days, and he actually "got" it. so i figured i'd give it to him.

a few years later, i picked up a used copy. and yes, it is pre-kid a kid a. i think a lot of folks think that. it's so...lost in space. i also love ray bradbury.

papa, remember sitting around in sugar's bathroom in our undies and reading bradbury stories as our clothes dried? ah...good times...

Captain Ultra said...

i miss this record. a friend stole it from me.

Papa Shoegaze said...

uh, yeah! thats what happens when you take your instruments and dont use them in the same old boring fashion. psych, middle eastern and what not. yes, the kid A if you must but so much beyond considering this was trying to sell in 'christian' bookstores. and the percussion is sick. remember we were like, 'what's up with all the 6min. songs?'

yes D, that was a tender moment. then you chased me around the house and tortured me...

Lucky Strikes said...

everyone should steal a copy of this disc at some point in their life...