When Mercury Rev released their debut, Yerself Is Steam, in 1991, few would have thought that such an extraordinarily dissonant and experimental outfit could turn into such majestic, orchestral pop tunesmiths, but folks said the same thing about the Flaming Lips. The group's fierce loyalty to creativity made it an obvious choice for a session or two with legendary producer/engineer John Peel, the results of which appear on 2009's two-disc Peel Sessions collection. Compiled over the span of ten years from a total of five sessions, the material tends to favor the group's wilder, earlier works, with noisy, free jazz midsections and cacophonous percussion, though later pieces like "Everlasting Arm" and a solid cover of John Lennon's "I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama" help keep the compilation grounded in enough reality to toss a hook or two into any unsuspecting pair of ears that should happen by.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2