• Record Label: V2
  • Release Date: May 17, 2005

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Without relying on a crutch of irony and cynicism, they boldly risk sounding cloying in order to summon the emotional honesty necessary to create music that is unabashedly romantic and achingly beautiful.
  2. Mojo
    Frankly, you could get drunk just on the minutiae here. [Feb 2005, p.92]
  3. Uncut
    Mercury Rev's power is undiminished. While never resorting to crude hooks, they build melodies to peaks of graceful intensity. [Album of the Month, Jan 2005, p.114]
  4. Like 'Deserter Songs' and 'All Is Dream' before, 'The Secret Migration' is a compelling, visual album. And yet within this, Mercury Rev have moved on.
  5. While at times the album becomes so lightheaded it threatens to evaporate into nothingness, it is yet another dazzling achievement for the band.
  6. Filter
    This record doesn't top 2001's All Is Dream, but the bliss of "In The Wilderness" and "The Climbing Rose" were definitely worth the wait. [#14, p.98]
  7. Spin
    Rev's overbaked symphonics and space-case triumphalism have become completely indistinguishable from the Flaming Lips. [Jun 2005, p.108]
  8. There's great beauty here, but, as with The Secret Migration's horrid sleeve, the sense that things have been pared down slightly too far suggests Mercury Rev still suffer from an inability to tell indulgence and exploration apart.
  9. If there’s any fault with this album, it’s the predictability in the songs: there are no hidden surprises, lacking any real breathtaking shifts or unexpected twists waiting to throw the unwary listener off-guard.
  10. Those who like Mercury Rev like them a lot; so while The Secret Migration doesn't happen to migrate into new territory, they are the type of band that could go on making the same album forever and we wouldn't care.
  11. Paste Magazine
    Lushly orchestrated, tenderly lyrical and often rapturous. [Apr/May 2005, p.135]
  12. The difference here is that Mercury Rev have paired down the fringes, allowing the bizarre to slip through the sieve. Only the songs remain. And what gorgeous songs about love and optimism they are.
  13. Los Angeles Times
    There is undeniable sweep to these 13 understated tracks, a modern psychedelic current that is lush, ominous and lovely. [22 May 2005]
  14. Q Magazine
    The Secret Migration shows a group in complete control of their cosmic idiom, familiar by now yet still seductive. [Jan 2005, p.120]
  15. As with previous LPs, “The Secret Migration” works as a set-piece but, with the strings kept on a tighter leash and the production less fulsome, it’s easier to notice the details.
  16. The Secret Migration is a beautiful-sounding record, but Deserter's Songs managed to sound spectacular and still work in adventurous detours.
  17. Ultimately, nobody's likely to claim The Secret Migration as a great album, I'm afraid. But it possesses energy and inspiration that its predecessor greatly lacked, and even the weaker songs here have something to recommend.
  18. The Secret Migration seethes with life and loveliness, building on the beauty of Dream and 1998's Deserter's Songs but steering clear of the dark overtones on those albums.
  19. Entertainment Weekly
    Much of the CD's faux poetry... sounds like the work of a New Age band. [20 May 2005, p.75]
  20. In stripping things back Mercury Rev suggest that in their case more actually was more, that bereft of the digressions and expansions they're just another band with a nasal, naïve-sounding singer, a way with a hook and a penchant for using the studio as an instrument.
  21. The Secret Migration is a wonderful record, full of exquisite indie-rock epics. But so was the last Mercury Rev record. And the one before that. So what’s changed? Nothing, basically.
  22. New Musical Express (NME)
    If there's a problem, it's that... it all sounds rather familiar and comfortable. [22 Jan 2005, p.51]
  23. Under The Radar
    For the first time, [Donahue's] writing is almost completely free of existential flourishes, and the naked sentimentality and heartfelt declarations of love are a bit too cloying and pedestrian. [#9]
  24. Blender
    The Secret Migration comes dangerously close to being just another Mercury Rev album, and they're too inspired for such a mundane fate. [Jun 2005, p.112]
  25. The Secret Migration has the power to cast a spell over you with its dreamy, wraithlike keyboards. Many won't fall for it, though, and will undoubtedly find them too melodramatic.
  26. This band simply isn’t the same without a little darkness to balance the overwhelming light, and rarely do the songs pick up the slack.
  27. With The Secret Migration, the band completely deserts the peculiarities that distinguished them from both peers and progeny in favor of a dull collection of pastoral fantasias that frequently wander dangerously close to adult contemporary.
  28. Where once we got shivers up our spines from this band's music, now we're just left cold.
  29. The Secret Migration is oddly too conventional and too quirky; it's another paradox that this album, which in its own way is Mercury Rev's happiest album, is also, sadly, the weakest of their career.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 31
  2. Negative: 2 out of 31
  1. lunaluna
    Oct 29, 2006
    Sad to give it a 5. I had great expectations for this album after their superior musical succes with Deserter's Song's and Sad to give it a 5. I had great expectations for this album after their superior musical succes with Deserter's Song's and underpraised All is Dream but after listening to what their music came to, i was totally disappointed.The quality of this album is way below than maybe even anything the band has done so far.Just a few songs were bearable while being aware of what actually the band could have serve.Just an ordinary album. Full Review »
  2. matta
    Dec 1, 2005
    Sachin P, c'mon. Even if this album was exceptional and one of the year's best (which is isn't by a long shot) it still Sachin P, c'mon. Even if this album was exceptional and one of the year's best (which is isn't by a long shot) it still wouldn't be one of the greatest albums ever made. Blood on the Tracks, Exile on Main St. , The White Album, Secret Migration.......see, it doesn't work. Needless to say, disappointing album, definitely their weakest to date. The 75 really is generous and it is that high probably just because this is a Mercury Rev cd and so the critics give it the benefit of the doubt. Super Furry Animals, Go-betweens, and especially Sleater Kinney also got that special treatement this year with all of them turning in very mediocre at best outings. Full Review »
  3. sachinp
    Jul 15, 2005
    one of the best albums of all time.