One downside of Dave Fridmann's ceaseless work as a producer-in-demand is that the Mercury Rev mastermind has put his inimitable trademark on tons of other bands. That's not bad if you dig Fridmann's swirly, sparkly sound, but it means the psych-pop progenitors in MR now sound kinda unoriginal, especially since they've moved toward the pop side of the equation. And with Jonathan Donohue's keening vocals pushed way up in the mix, it's hard to overlook how similar he sounds to Wayne Coyne. The Secret Migration is all soaring epics, with a timpani-driven Spector rip-off (In A Funny Way) and the Stardust-era Bowieish Vermillion thrown in for respite. It's a bit exhausting but still terribly pretty, with airy-fairy lyrics about white horses and forests, sweeping piano fills and lots of twinkly, chimey bits that made me feel like a unicorn was gonna canter out of my stereo and spit rainbow garlands into my lap.
Mercury Rev hit the Kool Haus with the Doves Monday (May 16).