Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs is soon to be reissued in a deluxe double CD edition.
The album took everyone by surprise when it dropped in 1999; the band’s previous LPs were routinely diverting, but always seemed desultory and half-formed, and no one expected anything different this time around. As is so often the case, everyone was wrong. Produced by David Fridmann, Deserter’s Songs astounded long-time fans and newcomers alike on almost every conceivable front: songwriting, production, orchestration, its sheer scope and grandeur. It’s one of the most beautifully constructed, vividly realised “pop” albums of its decade, and thirteen years later the ‘Rev have still not come close to matching it.
Another reissue of the album isn’t strictly necessary, as it’s never been remotely out of print, but V2/Cooperative’s new edition (out May 16) at least adds some value with a bonus disc of B-sides, demos and rarities. It’s an interesting selection, with embryonic takes of album highlights like ‘Hudson Line’ and ‘Opus 40′, and remixes by DJ Nickel and Bill Laswell. Why they left off The Chemical Brothers’ version of ‘Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp’ – arguably their finest ever remixing moment – is quite beyond us though.
The band will be performing the album live in its entirety on the following dates:
• Thursday, May 12
Croatia, Zagreb, Venue TBA
• Saturday, May 14 Turkey, Istanbul, Babylon
• Monday, May 16 Eire, Cork, Cypress Avenue
• Tuesday, May 17 Eire, Cork, Cypress Avenue
• Wednesday, May 18 Ireland, Dublin, Vicar St.
• Thursday, May 19 UK, Edinburgh, The Queen’s Hall
• Friday, May 20 UK, Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
• Saturday, May 21 UK, London, Roundhouse
• Sunday, May 22 Belgium, Brussels, Cirque Royale Botanique Festival
• Tuesday, May 24 The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Paradiso
• Wednesday, May 25 France, Paris, Bataclan
• Friday – Sunday, May 26 – 28 Spain, Barcelona, Primavera Festival
Deserter’s Songs bonus disc tracklist:
1. Piano vs. Telephone (Cassette Tape Player Demo)
2. Holes (Bill Laswell 1998 Remix)
3. Pick Up If You’re There (DJ Nickel 1998 Remix)
4. Endlessly (Tascam 8-Track Reel to Reel Demo)
5. A Soft Kiss (for waking up) (Cassette Tape Player Demo)
6. Tonite It Shows (Tascam 8-Track Reel to Reel Demo)
7. Looking Back Now, I Can See (Unreleased Mix)
8. Opus 40 (Early Rough Version)
9. Hudson Line (Early Rough Version)
10. Judging By The Moon (Cassette Tape Player Demo)
11. Goddess On A Hiway (1989 Cassette Tape Player Demo)
12. Night On Panther Mountain (Unreleased Mix)
13. Delta Sun Bottleneck Stomp (Early Rough Version)