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Album Review
Set Your Mind To Fly

Set Your Mind To Fly
by Mercury Crowe


Review Date
3rd September 2009
Reviewed by
Hayley Koorts

Offering us a slice of the musical equivalent to a Whitaker’s Peanut Slab – good, honest Kiwi rock n’ roll – the windy city dwellers set sail with their latest EP Set Your Mind to Fly. The lads from Mercury Crowe have been working the graveyard shift to mark out their turf on the New Zealand music scene, playing over sixty shows last year and doing away with normal sleeping patterns. Six-hundred fans stood testimony to the fruits of their dedication, waiting patiently in line for their own copy in May this year.

With enough gusto to spur on a good-humoured bar brawl, the nine-track album pulses with heavy-charged guitar riffs and boot-kicking drum sequences. The first track, Warning Signs, whips into shape with opening boogie jams courtesy of guitarist Hamish McKoy’s fancy fingerwork. I’m Not Alone begs to be blasted out of your stereo as you burn down a dusty open road, complete with blues-driven rhythm, plucky guitars and blue-collar harmonica. Hope is Gone, a slightly spaced-out swinger of a track, has lashings of the tough-love attitude behind every cowboy’s swagger.

The boys have piled their plate with generous helpings of cabaret rock, psychedelia and country drawl, spilling over with toppings of blues-funk and even a bit of gospel. The Wellingtonian group harbour a certain hankering for the feel-good stadium rock anthems found in country pubs on desert roads; I might as well through in a tumbleweed at this point to complete the stereotypical imagery.

There is certainly an audience out there for this polished and cleanly-produced arena rock, and I can imagine bringing along the whole family to see them live without offending any particular generation – but personally I prefer a more oil-stained finish thrown into the mix. The cheese factor also adds some cringe, especially in the hard-to-stomach track Pandora.

There’s nothing too sinful about unobtrusive, car-driving soundtracks lost in the soft-rock of the nineties, and swallowing my tongue I have to admit that it takes a lot of talent to produce such slick and well-orchestrated pieces, so there’s no doubting the musicianship of these members. Some of the darker tracks are truly enjoyable as they show Mercury Crowe’s less commercial strokes. They are a hard-working, committed group who’ll definitely strike the right chord with a lot of people, just not those after a bit more grit.

Listen to while: Fixing up that rusty old beaut in the garage with the old man

Sounds like: A scrubbed-up Tom Petty swapping his Jack Daniels for a diet coke as he belts out the overly-sentimental soundtrack to a coming-of-age Hollywood flick, set somewhere in the outback....

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