Leaving the Flaming Lips on the cusp of commercial success only to rejoin Mercury Rev — a group he was a part of in the late '80s — may have, in retrospect, seemed like a career blunder for Jonathan Donahue. That move, however, has resulted in some of the most artistically ambitious and breathtakingly beautiful music of the last two decades. Deserter's Songs made Rev a star in Europe and is considered the band's high-water mark. Nonetheless, its latest pair of offerings, Snowflake Midnight and Strange Attractor, showcase a group able to make blissful introspective moments soar with a heady grandeur. Although a notoriously inconsistent live act, at its best Rev is an unexpectedly forceful presence that will sweep you up in its otherworldly embrace on flights of fancy through musical journeys worthy of the imaginations of Edmund Spenser and Lord Dunsany.
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