(Sony Records 2005)Long-View - Mercury

Manchester quartet Long-View seems to be awfully enamored with smooth, light melodies with obvious pop sensibilities. The band's first album, "Mercury," has the instrumentation of Savage Garden, and vocalist Rob McVey delivers with a delicate demeanor in a voice reminding, not solely because of the hint of an accent, of Idlewild's Roddy Woomble in recent years. A combination that might please some, but, with the tediousness that "Mercury" shows, it is sure to bore the majority.

Soft power ballads dominate "Mercury," McVey's breathy vocals swooning over well blended instrumentation -- a collection that frequently includes the rich and romantic addition of strings -- such as on "Further" and "I Would," where drums pound lightly in the background of the airy track. Turning their attention to being more of a rock band, Long-View use throbbing guitar riffs to add texture to "Nowhere," breaking up their string of glum low key songs with bright tambourine and a decent chorus. Up beat, rhythmic songs of hope like "One More Try" confirm a stronger side of Long-View to write memorable songs.

Lack of variation and a certain long windedness turn the twelve songs on the nearly hour long collection that is "Mercury" into what feels like one long song. Long-View may know how to write a gentle melody, but a strict focus to keep the songs on track for a tight, clean sound seems to be lacking.


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