Call this chill-out music for frazzled souls. Glenn Mercer is the cofounder of New Jersey avant-pop band the Feelies; this, his second solo album, is a diverse instrumental set that combines Brian Eno’s ambient feel with light-to-medium rock edges and twangy nods to spaghetti western films. It’s done with consummate skill; Mercer plays all of the instruments (guitar treatments, drums, synths, bass, flute). An overall triumph of atmospheres that ranges from the hypnotic, Philip Glass-like “Koyaanisqatsi” textures of “Kodiak” to the pulsing “Cheyenne,” which sounds like Roxy Music when Eno was still with them. Recorded in Mercer’s home studio, the disc has a hobbyist feel, but there’s a lot to like, including sparkling covers of Eno’s “Here Come the Warm Jets” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From the Sun.” Among 12 originals there are a couple of failures (“Winslow” is soft, creamy, and dull), but the vast majority insinuate themselves into your brain with repeat listens. Not much commercial potential, but a job well done.
Essential “Third Stone From the Sun”
Steve Morse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.