MERCURY REV announce new album ‘Born Horses’ & share first single ‘Patterns’

Mercury Rev
Photo courtesy of the artist

Legendary American rock band Mercury Rev today announce their new album Born Horses due for release 6th September via Bella Union. To accompany the announcement the iconic band have shared the transcendent beauty of first single “Patterns” – watch the video BELOW.

Commenting on the track Mercury Rev says: “When we gaze up at the stars in the sky at night, the flickering lights seem random. If we could zoom out and see all of the galaxies revolving around each other, we would see the order in it. There are only Patterns on top of Patterns…”

Additionally, Mercury Rev have announced news of international tour dates including an Autumn European tour and further UK shows in early 2025. The dates are listed below.

In upstate New York, deep in the seam between the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley, a richly swelling, spellbound sound emerges, eddying and flowing like the local Esopus Creek, or in the slipstream of the grander Hudson River, carrying the flotsam and jetsam of our hopes, dreams, and fears. A sound composed of organic and electronic; guitars, keys, brass, strings, woodwind, drums – and a voice of incantations, tapping streams of consciousness that similarly eddy and flow.

Spiritually, literally, psycho-geographically: where else does Mercury Rev’s ninth album Born Horses spring from? This cascade of gleaming, glistening psych-jazz-folk-baroque-ambient quest that searches its soul but can never truly know the answer? A sound and vision begun with skeletal chords and surges of self-reflection, alive to the notions and motions of time and reality somehow both linked to their exalted past whilst quite unlike anything they have created before?’’

Grasshopper: “When Jonathan and I first met, one thing we bonded over was Blade Runner, both Ridley Scott’s film and Vangelis’ soundtrack: that feel of the past and the future, the haunting noir mood and the romance of the future…Born Horses taps into some of that. Looking back to childhood, to Broadway tunes, to lonesome blues, Chet Baker, Miles Davis’ Sketches Of Spain, records that our parents listened to, but we put a twist into the future. From the beginning, Mercury Rev were on a cusp, between analogue and digital, hi-fi and lo-fi at the same time. It was like Brecht or Weill, the words suggesting visuals, and the visuals suggesting moods. We also thought a lot about the desert on this record, and the urban desert.”

The album title, named after the majestically rippling sixth track ‘Born Horses’, was chosen because its words resonate through the entire record, encompassing the idea of flight (“I dreamed we were born horses waiting for wings”) and the phrase “You and I” that appears at different junctures on the album. This is not the concept of two separate people, but two parts of oneself.

Jonathan Donahue: “When I opened my voice to sing on this record, this was the bird that sang: a lower, whiskery voice, which surprised me as much as it may others. I don’t know where the bird came from, but it’s there now, and I don’t question it. It’s just the bird that wants to sing.”

Born Horses opens with ‘Mood Swings’. A trumpet, evoking bohemian mariachi and the windswept terrain of the desert prairie, opens up to a dynamic panorama of sound, wandering through and enveloping Jonathan’s intimate recitation, conflating memories and confessions of feelings trapped and unwrapped. It establishes Born Horses’ tone of vulnerability and awe, testifying to the frailty of human experience, buffeted by the currents all around us. The flightiness of feelings is further explored by the metaphor of a bird, most clearly in ‘Bird Of No Address’ and the album’s pulsating finale ‘There Has Always Been A Bird In Me’.

More inspiration was provided by the spirits of the art minimalist Tony Conrad and beat poet Robert Creeley, acolytes of progressive thought and action who both taught at the University at Buffalo, the city where the band was formed. Amongst other credentials, Conrad was a member of LaMonte Young’s Dream Syndicate along with John Cale and a close friend to The Velvet Underground. Creeley was one of the most important and influential American poets of the 20th century as well as an associate of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the Black Mountain poets.

Jonathan: “Since our beginning in the late 80’s with David Baker through the recording of Born Horses with new permanent members, Woodstock native (pianist) Jesse Chandler and Austrian born (keyboardist) Marion Genser, we’ve celebrated this unspoken trust in the ‘statue already inside the marble’. We didn’t make Born Horses by throwing clay on top of clay; we allowed Time to reveal what was always there.”

Mercury Rev will be performing at Dublin’s In The Meadow festival this weekend and will be playing Australian shows with Ride in August. Upcoming headline dates below:

27th October – Belfast – Mandela Hall

28th October – Limerick – Dolans Warehouse

29th October – Galway – Roisin Dub

30th October – Cork – Cyprus Avenue

31st October – Dublin – Button Factory

2nd November – Norwich – Arts Centre

3rd November – Bristol – Trinity

4th November – Newcastle – Boiler Shop

6th November – Glasgow – The Garage

7th November – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club

8th November – Cambridge – Junction

9th November – Brighton – Mutations Festival

11th November – Amsterdam – Paradiso

12th November – Leuven – Het Depot

13th November – Paris – La Maroquinerie

15th November – Weissenhauser Strand – Rolling Stone Beach Festival

16th November – Copenhagen – Bremen Theatre

17th November – Johanneshov – Slaktkyrkan

18th November – Oslo – Vulkan Arena


13th March – Liverpool – Content

14th March – Manchester – New Century Hall

18th March – Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms

19th March – London – EartH

Born Horses artwork and tracklist:

mercury rev

1. Mood Swings

2. Ancient Love

3. Your Hammer, My Heart

4. Patterns

5. A Bird Of No Address

6. Born Horses

7. Everything I Thought I Had Lost

8. There’s Always Been A Bird In Me


Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as hosting interviews for the weekly XS Noize Podcast.Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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