After a lengthy hiatus, Florida’s The Mercury Program return to the musical forefront with Chez Viking, a seven-song CD/LP released by the band’s new label, Lovitt Records, on Winter 2009. Undoubtedly, The Mercury Program have established themselves as one of the most exciting bands who place a premium on intricate song craft and mesmerizing live performance. Formed in the summer of 1997, they have re-emerged with a bracing mix of angular guitars, rhythmic bass lines, jazz-influenced drumming, and ethereal vibraphones.
The Mercury Program first started as a three-piece outfit. Their first show was on New Year’s Eve in 1998 at a friend’s party in Chapel Hill. The Mercury Program soon recorded two 7″s with Boxcar Records including a split 7″ with Versailles; soon afterwards, the band recorded their debut full-length, also on Boxcar. Critically acclaimed by the likes of print and web media alike, they supported the record with a brief East Coast tour, as well as several regional shows in the Florida area. In late 1999, The Mercury Program agreed to release their next two albums through Tiger Style Records. During this time, the band added an additional member, Whitney Travisano, and turned the trio into a more dynamic quartet. The sound of the band changed dramatically with the addition of a fourth member as keyed instruments such as vibraphones and electric pianos became much more prominent.
After releasing two full-lengths and two EPs from 2000 to 2003, The Mecury Program went dormant, but recently began writing and recording new material. The result of this composed approach is Chez Viking. The band chose to work with long-time engineer and friend Andy Baker, and mixes were handled by Jeremy Scott at Civil Defense in Brooklyn, with Bob Weston mastering the full-length at Chicago Mastering Service in Chicago. Chez Viking is a twinkling, shimmering album whose strengths of interplay between guitar, vibraphone, and Rhodes are complemented by lockstep rhythm section. It’s a fantastic combination that succinctly captures the band’s bright intensity, and reveals the benefit of the extended time it took to create.The Mercury Program have reached an advanced point in its development where making intriguing sounds seems effortless, and Chez Viking is the definitive document showcasing that talent.
The Mercury Program
1. Chez Viking
3. Backseat Blackout
5. Stand & Sing
6. The Church of Cause and Effect
7. Fluorescent Laces