Snowflake Midnight

  • Record Label: Yep Roc
  • Release Date: Sep 30, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Ten years after Deserter's Songs became a gorgeous Americana classic, Mercury Rev have made another masterpiece.
  2. It’s hard to parse the band’s ultimate intentions, but there’s no doubt that every note and lyric on this album are in fact intended, and, most importantly, sincere.
  3. 80
    This Rev record is another triumph in which all is dream and this sometimes symbolism, the overall effect trippy, though less dark than of yore. [Oct 2008, p.102]
  4. 80
    Snowflake Midnight ranges widely, from synth-heavy orchestration to film-score dramarama. And between those ambient bookends, there's virtually no filler.
  5. This is a magical and bafflingly arresting album. [Sep 2008, p.53]
  6. The results are uneven but rarely dull.
  7. Its dependence on fussy, meticulous electronic elements tempers some of the band's drippier new-agey tendencies, which makes it easier to appreciate how often Snowflake finds Mercury Rev at their most majestic and most ambitious.
  8. Snowflake Midnight works as a soothing, gently inspiring song cycle, the likes of which Mercury Rev hasn't made since "See You on the Other Side."
  9. It's as dreamy as Mercury Rev have ever sounded. [Oct 2008, p.161]
  10. Nevertheless, this is still a hugely satisfying album and one that easily lends itself to total immersion, revealing its charms steadily over time.
  11. Mercury Rev's overarcing vision of tenderhearted sonic sprawl is often moving, if occasionally also moving ones eyes to roll.
  12. What ultimately saves Snowflake Midnight from following The Secret Migration up the band's collective keister is the song positioned to serve as its climax, 'Dream of a Young Girl as a Flower.'
  13. Overall Snowflake Midnight isn’t quite the disaster that the disillusioned might have expected.
  14. 60
    There are flashes of thrilling chaos but all too often they are contained and subdued by fussy programming.
  15. Mercury Rev haven’t quite mastered this new toolkit they’ve taken on, and their proggy/bombastic/unabashedly emotional side makes them hard to swallow for some.
  16. Surprisingly though, Snowflake Midnight, if it is heard widely outside of fan circles, may win the band more fans than their more straightforward output.
  17. Beautiful yet detached, the music often bursts into life but more frequently simply drifts, all too willing to fall hypnotised under its own spell.
  18. Ambitious, yes, inventive, sometimes, but waiting for those rare moments of clarity is like trying to catch a cloud in a colander. [Nov 208, p.118]
  19. As it stands here, it too often feels as if the tools mastered them.
  20. At its best, Mercury Rev is secretly an Americana band (see Levon Helm and Garth Hudson's appearances on Deserter's Songs), tricking out solid songs with studio know-how; their collapse into catchall experimentation is brave, but ultimately not the best route.
  21. Snowflake Midnight continues with the too-clean, too-electronic devolpments of "The Secret Migration." [Fall 2008, p.77]
  22. 30
    Mercury Rev has talked about reinvention and veering away from its comfort zone, which is only to be commended, but the band has really fallen flat on its face here.
  23. They’ve set their laser harp on “snooze” and come up with a yawn-inspiring set of digital whoosh over which to chant some nonsense that at best resembles the Chemical Brothers at their worst.

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