Mercury Rev: Jonathan Donahue (vocals, guitar); David Baker (vocals); Grasshopper (guitar); Suzanne Thorpe (flute); Dave Fridmann (bass); Jimmy Chambers (drums).
Additional personnel: C. Gavazzi (trumpet).
Personnel: Jonathan Donahue (vocals, guitar); David Baker (vocals); Grasshopper (guitar); Suzanne Thorpe (flute); C. Gavazzi (trumpet); Jimy Chambers (drums).
While somewhat more based in the feel and forms of "rock" than Mercury Rev's subsequent releases, the band's 1992 debut is still nothing less than a gem of late-20th century psychedelic pop innovation. The kooky, expansive opener, "Chasing A Bee," which infuses an ironic, slow motion dream narrative with excruciatingly beautiful squalls of guitar noise, gives voice to the band's epic, utterly unique sonic project.
What follows is a breakneck visitation of punk aggression, folk/pop melodicism, VU-inspired drone explorations, quirky cartoon nightmares ("Blue and Black" sounds like Syd Barrett on a particularly bad day) and shimmering, never-ending waves of echo and chorus-drenched guitars, feedback and generally blissful noise designed to elevate brains. YERSELF IS STEAM is the first in Mercury Rev's astonishingly impressive string of records, and merits the attention of both newcomers and fans of the group's later work.
Q (1/93, p.99) - 3 Stars - Good - "...there was no greater splurge of reconstituted rock noise last year...Like My Bloody Valentine, Mercury Rev are proof of rock's inexhaustible potential..."
Uncut (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] sublimely fried patchwork of ragged space-rock...white noise and some winningly lovely pop tunes."
Alternative Press (7/95, p.102) - Ranked #85 in AP's list of the `Top 99 of '85-'95' - "...Mercury Rev infused Floydian slipstream psych with surrealist chaos. One minute they send thousand-volt jolts through your nervous system, the next they cast you adrift on majestic ice flows....This is hallucinogenic aural madness that will sound as radioactively brilliant well into the next century as it does now..."
Melody Maker (12/91) - Ranked #4 is Melody Maker's list of the top 30 albums of 1991 - "...A far-out left-field classic...A glorious collage of fractured, collapsing atmospheres and wildly deviant humor..."