It's impossible not to be caught up in the grandeur of Mercury Rev's latest opus. All Is Dream opens like a Merchant-Ivory picture, all billowing brass and roiling kettle drums. It's a large-scale record, with Dave Fridmann and Tony Visconti building a wall of sound around the upstate New Yorkers' dreamscapes. Strip away the production, though, and you're not left with much. Their awesome 1998 Deserter's Songs disc had the songs to match Fridmann's sweeping production. But on All Is Dream, songwriter Jonathan Donahue sounds lazy, reverting to a proven formula, coming up with some of the worst lyrics in recent memory and letting the strings carry him through. There are some truly transcendent moments, like the nightmarish swirl of Lincoln's Eyes and the theremin tension on Tides Of The Moon, but not enough. Rather than a next step, Mercury Rev have actually taken a stumble backwards.