The Secret Migration seethes with life and loveliness, building on the beauty of Dream and 1998’s Deserter’s Songs but steering clear of the dark overtones on those albums. Shorter, more focused tracks feature keyboard-rooted melodies that flatter Jonathan Donahue’s dazed vocals. “In a Funny Way” recycles classic Phil Spector percussion riffs and adds the band’s own operatic female warbling, symphonic strings, Byrds-like guitars and all-around studio sweetness. The catchiest cut, “Moving On,” is just seventy-eight seconds of angelic, harmony-drenched chorus — nothing else is necessary.
Migration is a Rock band’s straightforward attempt at subtle explorations and refinement. Over all it comes off sounding too orchestrated and too clear. The best that Rev fans could hope for is the prospects that this may be the first installment in a series of progressively better albums to come.