Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
I would argue that Mercury is one of the most underrated and unappreciated records in Christian music. Where Shawl was an alternative record ahead of it’s time, Mercury was the bi-product of creative differences and inner band tension.Chris Colbert has said “you can hear the band break up on the record, you can see them extend a warm and heartfelt middle finger to the industry.” I don’t know how to true that statement is to the average music fan. All I know is Mercury is a great record.
From the India influenced drone of Humb that opens records, it’s obvious that Mercury was not going to sound anything like Shawl. Waterdogs, Grylliade, and Creole are all pretty standard rock songs and it isn’t a jarring contradiction to the bands previous work. Sky High is where things start to shift. 8 minutes of stoner rock. Swirling guitars, sweeping vocals, great stuff. Mercury and Shiver are slow moving tracks with great percussion driving them. Shiver has a killer back beat with a great lead guitar line. Manta Rae is an ambient piece that goes right into Bendy Line, one of my personal favorite Prayer Chain songs. Sun Stoned ends the record the way it began, with an Indian influenced drone, as Andy Prickett takes over vocal duties. As the name would suggest, a very stoner-esque song.
Mercury might have been the downfall of the Prayer Chain but it was also a brief glimpse at what the members of the band would do going forward. Either way, one of the greatest and most underrated records in Christian rock history.