Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another Big Sound Post

     In posts of 2013, the term “Big Sound Band” was defined as one that uses an orchestral approach to providing a texturally full sound in at least one of its Indie recordings. It's time to revisit the sound.

     Mercury Rev has been making music since 1988. The last album release was in 2008, but late last year Mercury Rev was one of the participants in a tribute album with a tie to a worthwhile fundraiser. The tribute was to troubled songwriter Mark Linkous (aka Sparklehorse), who died in 2010. Fittingly, the worthy cause was increasing awareness about mental health while reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.
     Mercury Rev is based in Buffalo, New York. Because the band has not been very active, there were questions about who the current members are. Last month, Jonathan Donahue addressed the questions:
"So, it’s just Grasshopper [Sean Mackowiak] and myself as 'permanent' members of the Rev along with Dave Fridmann too; except he won't leave Buffalo to tour (though he says we can play as many shows as we want in Buffalo and he will be there!). On the most recent recordings we've also got our longtime (13 years) touring bass player Carlos Anthony Molina both engineering and making sound as well, which is fantastic given his amazing collection of vintage studio equipment and his stellar ears… Touringwise over the past few seasons we have been blessed with two of our longtimest friends Justin and Jason Russo on stage to help with the orchestrations especially on the DSongs shows… That's Justy you see in the most recent Bilbao photos… Jason is usually real busy with his bands Hopewell and Common Prayer… And of course that brings us to Jason 'the Kid' Miranda our drummer… he's been with us since he was a minnow and now, well now he is nearly a decade in."

    “Sea of Teeth” is the Mercury Rev song on the tribute album, which is entitled “Last Box of Sparklers.” The song starts unassumingly, but the “Big Sound” is readily apparent by  the 2:00 mark.

     James Vincent McMorrow lives in Dublin, Ireland, but his vocals live in the falsetto range of frequencies. His song of interest to this post is “Gold.” In particular, the horns create that “Big Sound,” but the vocals certainly contribute.

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