Longview - Mercury

The White Flag is already up. We're the first to admit we couldn't have got it more wrong when we suggested that the band trade in Rob McVey as the bands singer and get someone in who's vocals can match the epic proportions of the music. After listening to the bands debut offering "Mercury" we've realized it's McVey that makes the band special with the simplistic heart wrenching lyrics enhanced by the limitations of his voice.

I guess in retrospect we were looking for a band to match long lost indie boys Geneva, which was ultimately wrong because they always seemed to grate after a while due to the lead singers vocal operatics which detracted from the music. Maybe it was an off day when we saw the band a few months ago at the Night & Day because on record Rob McVey's vocals display an honesty and truth and the lyrics a genuine feeling that he's pouring his heart out onto paper. Admittedly when it gets to the climax of "Further" and he sings the lines "God's love will save our light and we'll come shining bright. God's love will save our sun and thy will be done" there's an element of have they pulled a POD and unleashed a Christian Rock record onto an unsuspecting public. Fear not because it's the only biblical reference and the rest of the album seems concerned with lost love(s) and features a plethora of song titles ("When You Sleep", "If You Asked", "Falling For You", "Falling Without You" and "Will You Wait Here" aimed at that special person.

With any other band it would seem like a tedious exercise exploring the same old issues since time began, but lyrically they have a universal appeal and the music is both intricate and fragile while still retaining a epic cinematic feel. While there are only two rockier tracks, "When You Sleep" and "Nowhere", there is never the sense of the album drifting or simply cruising. It's impossible not to get wrapped up and absorbed in and lines such as "How i'm thinking what to say to you but i'm weak and stupid when i'm near you" could come from the Morrissey school of kitchen sink drama's and that's a compliment. Whether Longview will ever cross over to commercial success as well as critical acclaim as Doves have is yet to be seen, but "Mercury" is not only an album that surprises and delights it's an album that is already contender for the album of the year.

Alex McCann

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