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CD REVIEW: Project Mercury - Light This Candle
By Ashley Petkovski - 11/26/2002 - 01:19 AM EST

Artist: Band: Project Mercury
Album: Light This Candle
CD Review: Diverse and absolutely lovely, Project Mercury have crafted 11 genuinely beautiful songs on their album “Light This Candle.” However, when you go along for the ride, seeking out a full album as opposed to a collection of songs, “Light This Candle” seems to lose it’s song-based prowess and begins feeling more like a disjointed anthology than a smooth beginning-to-end journey.

Each song on “Light This Candle” stands beautifully as it's own entity, each spirit crafted with precision, every note virtually flawless. Within Project Mercury lies not only an acoustic rock band, but a female-fronted Led Zeppelin (sumptuous, powerful rhythms and twinges of Middle Eastern influences), a campfire folk duo, a sultry jazz combo, and an ethereal goth band. Utilizing bass, guitar, drums, violin, keys, and various percussion instruments, Project Mercury manage to explore a wide-ranging spectrum of sounds, continuously adding to their compelling melodies and lyrics. Each musician on the album is proficient, each instrument blending seamlessly with the next. On tracks where the instrumentation is slightly heavier, the production stands strong. Each instrument is heard clearly. Thankfully, nothing is overshadowed or lost in the mix.

Marian Mastrorilli, Project Mercury’s primary lyricist and vocalist, is terrifically proficient in both her creation and delivery. Each verse is more refined than the next, the whole album ringing of genuine emotion. The pain, joy, lust and love are all tangible after only one listen, and the vocal delivery, be it Marian’s or Charlene Donahue’s, helps to further the emotive impacts of “Light This Candle.” With lyrics like “It’s been forever/Since her body was her own/ And days revolved around/ A whisper and a moan/ The years they go so fast/ The hours go so slow/ How future turned to past/ She’ll never, never know” (Champagne Afternoon), Project Mercury have a place with some of today’s finest songwriters.

As absolutely wonderful as the songs are, they have no connection. It could be the production/mixing style, or it could even be the fact that some of the tracks were written in 1995 and are therefore naturally disconnected from the newer material. Regardless of what the problem may be, the flow is ultimately ‘off.’ The second track, “On Enemy Lines,” is a sonic tribute to Led Zeppelin, with a ferocious rhythm and guitar work echoing the influences of the Mid-East. Its descendant, “Faded Leather,” is a breathy Norah Jones-esque take. In three words: sexy, sexy, sexy ! “Faded Leather” is what you get when you put down the (moral) wall, and let that leather do its work. Both songs are things of beauty on their own, but one after the other, they are too drastically different to really click. As “Light This Candle” progresses, the flow becomes slightly more natural, but it never loses its distracting transitions.

It may not be the ideal for those who seek out a seamless soundscape, but “Light This Candle” is an amazing showcase of individual songs, crafted expertly by the talented members of Project Mercury.


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