Four albums in and Mercury Rev remain as surprising and daring as ever -- exchanging the volcanic noise and twisted sensibilities of earlier releases for ornate arrangements and ethereal strings, Deserter's Songs unlocks the beauty always hidden just below the band's surface, its lush harmonics and soothing textures bathing in an almost unearthly light. Standouts including the exquisitely waltz-like "Tonite It Shows" and the celestial "Endlessly" are like lullabies, their music-box melodies gentle and narcotic; even the most pop-oriented moments like "Opus 40" and "Hudson Line" share a symphonic, candy-colored majesty far removed from conventional rock idioms. Complete with its fractured instrumental interludes and odd effects, Deserter's Songs sounds like no other album -- for that matter, it doesn't even sound like Mercury Rev, yet there's no mistaking the record's brilliance for anyone else.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny