the Mercury Seed.

TMS Records, 2002


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


It took maybe ten seconds for New York's the Mercury Seed to remind me of about six bands. The Allman Brothers, Cream, Counting Crows, Whiskeytown, early-'70s Rolling Stones and, more than anyone, the Black Crowes. Yep, this is good old-fashioned lung-straining, head-bobbing, blues-based, jangly-melodies-and-big-greasy-guitar-solos late-night-bar-band rock and roll.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Mercury Seed -- who seem to have parked themselves musically in about 1973 -- obviously aren't slaves to fashion, and that's the beauty of this effort; it's music that doesn't even try to strike a pose. Instead, the band keeps it raw and real, and what comes through is what any label should look for in any artist -- passion. These guys -- Volker Lemmer (vocals), Darren Salmieri (guitars), John Jackson (guitars), Gary D'Andrea (bass) and Rob Langer (drums) -- love what they do, and believe in these songs 110%.

Highlights include the restrained power of the steady-building "Last Trace" (where the addition of piano gives it a distinct Band/ Big Pink feel), the "Tumbling Dice"-ish country-rock of "Two Steps (From The Move)," the chunky Aerosmith-esque boogie-thump of "Coming Down Again," and the swirling, Cream-y closer "Times Of Trouble." The production is clean but organic, with an immediacy to it that puts you right in the room with the band. The fadeout-free "live" sound is so pervasive on this disc that, after listening to the Mercury Seed throw themselves into ten meaty tracks here, it's easy to believe they must be holy terrors on stage.

An interesting side note: the packaging on Dust is more professional than many indie bands manage to pull off; if not for the fine print, you might think this disc came out on Columbia Records or some such. Unlike a lot of musicians who moonlight as designer/photographers, Volker Lemmer appears to have a good eye for art direction. (But, please, drop the pretentious, editor-annoying period from the name… you guys have too much talent for that.)

This sophomore independent release showed me dynamic arrangements, strong compositions, excellent musical chemistry, and most of all, total commitment by the band to these songs. Whatever the Mercury Seed achieves this year will be a direct result of the palpable passion they've poured into Dust.

Rating: B+

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