The Mercury Program: Chez Viking

If you are going to name an album after the home of a Viking, it better be a good depiction of what the home of a Viking may be. This vocal-less album starts off with an upbeat fanfare that turns into a slower, thematic melody line. The song continues on in what seems like a traditional song template only to return to a faster version of the upbeat fanfare, and back to the melody line introduced in the beginning of “Chez Viking.”

Instead of picturing the inside of a Viking’s house, consider this album to be what a Viking in a business suit riding the elevator up to a job interview would hear. This quartet from Gainesville, NY, has a solid grasp on how to bring together multiple time signatures and distinct rhythms to make beautiful music.

There are many elements to each song, and it is a welcomed change when the sudden introduction of floor toms and percussion replaces the constant snare drum in the middle of “Arrived/Departed.” The guitar on every song somehow melds into a short vibraphone solo quickly becoming a drum and bass duet.

The inclusion of vibraphone makes what could easily be just another elevator band interesting. It adds a little flair to each song, and the production technique of radio static at the beginning of “Katos” brings a different twist to what is traditionally viewed as background music. It’s surprising the entertaining and calming quality this album has. Throw it on while taking a bath or throwing a cocktail party.

In A Word: Versatile