Review Summary: Chez Viking takes all of The Mercury Program's albums and puts out a solid, cohesive representation of their sound.
For over a decade, Gainesville-based The Mercury Program have been releasing their own brand of groove-led instrumental jazz-rock. Chez Viking, released in 2009, takes all of these past albums and puts out a solid, cohesive representation of their distinctive sound.
The most characteristic and recognizable aspect of this sound are the vibes and piano. They provide each song with its own ambiance and mood, weaving in and out of the drums and accompanying or supplementing the guitar lines with sparse melody. The guitar work provides a constant melody with great rhythmic timings reminiscent of U2. "Arrived/Departed" and the title track are great examples of this. The rhythm section is more or less the focal point of this album. The drums and rolling bass guitar lock together in pulsing, quirky, and off-kilter timings and offer an exciting counterpoint to the mostly constant guitar and sparce piano. "Backseat Burnout" and "Stand and Sing" showcase this talent.
Chez Viking may appeal to some because of the song lengths, which never exceed 6:30. In a genre where many groups tend to push longer lengths and sweeping, dramatic tracks, The Mercury Program can be a small dose, an earthy, jazzy alternative to please those who like the intricate songwriting of Post-Rock, but not too much at once. 4/5