Beginning as avant-pop pranksters and evolving into purveyors of rootsy, majestic psych-pop, Mercury Rev aren’t so much a band as a long, strange trip. The volatility of the group’s early days likely added an extra spark to the one-of-a-kind mix of shoegaze, noise pop, psychedelic, and experimental music on 1991’s Yerself Is Steam and 1993’s Boces, which offered the first hint of just how ambitious their music became later in the decade. As their lineup changed, their musical horizons expanded; on 1995’s See You on the Other Side, they added adventurous free jazz excursions and lullaby-like melodies with striking results. Though Mercury Rev won critical acclaim from the start, they didn’t achieve commercial success until their 1998 breakthrough album, Deserter’s Songs, which combined intimate songwriting with a fresh take on Americana. As they continued to evolve with 2008’s electronic Snowflake Midnight and paid homage to one of the great underappreciated albums with 2019’s Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete Revisited, heartfelt emotion and experimentation remained equally vital to Mercury Rev’s music.