Something Old, Something New
Mercury Rev is no stranger to the music scene, and after making music since 1989, they have released a full cover album of The Delta Sweete from 1968 by Bobbie Gentry. The Delta Sweete Revisited is chalk full of guest appearances on each track, including Norah Jones, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucinda Williams and many more. Every aspect comes together on the album to create The Delta Sweete with a slight Mercury Rev twist to it.
The album gets off to an eerie start with “Okolona River Bottom Band (feat. Norah Jones).” The grandness of the instrumentals paired with the dramatic nature of the harmonies creates an atmosphere that could beckon images of a foggy setting or even something having to do with witches. With this being the first thing the listener hears in regards to an album made up of covers only, it is a strong note to start on.
“Parchman Farm (feat. Carice van Houten)” takes a bit of a western turn in the feeling of it all, while still somehow maintaining the haunting vocal style heard previously. This is one of those songs the listener should listen closely to, not only for the lyricism but also because there are so many small and unique quirks about it that every listen is bound to present something new to the listener. The consistency of an ominous feeling plays into that slight twist Mercury Rev puts on this album.
There is some sense of dramatic nature in each track on the album. Each one is just presented in its own way each time. “Tobacco Road (feat. Susanne Sundfør)” starts off seeming like it is about to take the album in a completely different and upbeat way, however, it quickly shows that it is as dramatic as the tracks before it. Although, when the chorus comes in the track adapts to a somewhat ‘50s feeling in the airiness of it all. This is by far one of the best tracks on the album based on the fact that it gives the listener a quick change up amongst other tracks.
The album wraps up on a cover of one of Bobbie Gentry’s most popular tracks, “Ode to Billie Joe,” from Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe. Although not originally from The Delta Sweete, this track brings the listener back to where the album started in terms of sound, keeping it fairly consistent throughout. The beauty of this album is that in most cases a full cover album might not be worth getting excited about, but Mercury Rev took The Delta Sweete and let it shine as something new by adding their own little twist to it.