Sound — 10
Wow. Very seriously, Mercury Rev has an absolutely unique sound. Blending guitar, bass and drum with flute, string, and even a soprano vocal that comes in on several songs, they come up with a sound that can only be described as what Coldplay should sound like. Backround music for the surreal.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, these songs are really quite good. Poetic, but not poetic like "won't you people shut up about roses, we get it, it has thorns." The lyrics are as innovative as the music. Singer Jonathan's voice isn't for everyone, however. His high-pitched, dry voice is a little weird, but suits me fine. Guitarist Grasshopper sings on one song "Hudson Line." He does a good vocal, even though it is very limited in range.
Overall Impression — 10
I love this album. While I often find other art-rock bands like Radiohead and Coldplay dreadful and boring, this CD comes in and says "Sorry about them... what we meant to sound like was this..." The only real problem is that I believe there are too many instrumental tracks on this (four on a twelve track CD). Not for everybody, but if it turns out that it is for you, you'll love it.