Mercury Rev - Butterfly’s Wing

Lewis Townsend 21/11/2008

Rating: 4/5

It's struck me over the past three months how unbelievably unpopular Mercury Rev appear to have become. That's mostly a good thing, but after practically following these guys on their England tour, I was more than shocked at the turnouts. September 29th was a magical day for those who know and love the band [or several months before if you have an internet connection and a thirst for albums before they come out]. Oh, and V2-- if you're reading this- don't worry, I bought the album too. So Snowflake Midnight was released to a mixed, but mostly positive reception. In short, the album represents a much less restricted attack on dreamy electronics and guitar as opposed to "The Secret Migration" which disappointed many. The album itself sprawls, twists, turns, jumps, hops, passes out, chills out, trips out and then finishes you off with an eerie and wondrous climax of a song- with a damn good bassline.

Following the epic refrain of "Snowflake in a Hot World" and preceding recent digital single "Senses on Fire" which should under no circumstances whatsoever, be confused with "Sex on Fire". Butterfly's Wing is a minimal song, with a driving bass accompanied by waves of rapturous synth reaching half crescendo's. So what makes it a little different? Mainly that you can tell this isn't atypical pop. It's got that Mercury Rev charm. A similar charm that enchanted "Holes" and "Goddess on a Hiway" who's nonsensical lyrics are countered by in this case "I'm beating like a butterfly's wing.. unable to sleep", before reaching a relaying barrage of glorious vocal between Donahue, Marcell and Grasshopper [and the cute sound of children laughing naturally- maybe that's the Rev charm I was referring to]. Of course it's not long before they all come crashing to earth and the beat almost slaps you in the face, and then challenges you to not at least tap your feet. After the explosion, Donahue is still beating like a butterflys wing, he's still unable to sleep; but at this point, it's as if amidst the insomnia, the song has awoken for real. This would suit anyone who would enjoy a contemporary take on Krautrock; the thumping nature of the bass is very reminiscent of Kraftwerk's Tour De France. The perfect soundtrack to walking, driving, or sat on a train. Preferably late at night.

The two remixes are pretty neat. The second of which has been mixed by Carlos Molina, Rev's bassist, and clocks in at around 9 minutes, stretching the song out well and failing to reach moments of tedium.

Watch the video here.

Release date: 17/11/08