For 1998, Mercury Rev did something completely different: they shunned the psychedelic rock of their previous ways and went for baroque. Literally. On Deserter's Songs, bowed saw plays as prominent a role as guitar, and most of the songs are ballads, not anthems. There's a tender, folksy quality here that was missing in the group's previous (albeit also great) recordings. Mercury Rev have always been difficult to classify; yet on this album they make the pigeonholing even more difficult.