The Mercury Program's New EP

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You do begin to wonder? The same way many artists clearly create paintings with dollar signs in their eyes?from the lowliest and most self-deprecating upward, this trait never fails to disturb me?so bands like the Mercury Program only seem to make music that will lead to their being admired. Listen to the distinctiveness of tone they achieve on all the minor cadences and sprawling rhythms of "There Are Thousands Sleeping In Peace." Wonder at the complexity of the bebop inspired loops and spirals of "Marianas." Witness the way this Gainesville, FL, group never stoop to fall back on such lowly concepts as "the human voice" or conventional song structures or commerciality.

This music is so lacking in heart or purpose one can only wonder at the personalities behind it?Tom Reno, the two Travisanos and Lebleu. Do they sit around and admire the texture on the ceiling?the part where bubbles are formed as the paper begins to slightly come away from its moorings? Do they amuse themselves for countless hours by trying to figure out precisely how Kraftwerk achieved the secondary snare sound in "Autobahn"? Do they hear an Otis Redding song and shudder?

Doubtless, this EP?All the Suits Began to Fall Off only clocks in at 31 minutes, so you can hardly call it a proper album?has much to differentiate it from previous Mercury Program CDs and more soulful peers like Tele:funken and Storm & Stress. For example, the intonation Tom Reno gives his guitar 2 minutes 14 seconds into the riveting "Undiscovered Genius of the Mississippi Delta" varies greatly from the sound he achieved on "Re-Inventing a Challenge for Machines" on the previous album. This is like giving a sofa full of monkeys excess hours to mess around with random magnetic particles. Fine, if you're the sort of person who needs background hum to fill in the spaces in his life; and, of course, infinitely preferable to whatever flavor of the month is being played in the background of Ally McBeal. Dull for the rest of us.

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