1998's 'Deserter's Songs' signalled a major step forward for the hitherto unacknowledged Mercury Rev. Cleverly 'All Is Dream' not only consolidates their previous good form but adds something extra. On hearing the opening track, the Bond theme-like 'The Dark Is Rising', it sounds as the group recorded in the same sessions as the previous album but the track is unrepresenative of the new album as a whole. 'Tides Of The Moon' is then ushered in; this time there's howling guitar, intense drumming and a creepy, insidiuous vocal turn from Jonathan Donahue. Another key point is 'Lincoln's Eyes'; the vocal distorted this time and the initially quiet keyboard-led surrounding is then ended by a swirl of howling guitars and effects. The tone is then lightened somewhat by the dreamy Americana of 'Nite And Fog' and 'You're My Queen' both of which deliver beautifully twisted tunes. There are returns to the Disney-like magic from previous work on 'A Drop In Time' and 'Spiders And Flies' is a touching ballad par excellence. The overall feel of the album is one of menace and mystery disguised as beauty. If 'Deserter's Songs' was the dream then, perversely, 'All Is Dream' is the nightmare that follows.