Friday, March 9, 2012

The Magnetic Fields

Add Date: March 6 

Artist: The Magnetic Fields 

Album: Love at the Bottom of the Sea 

Label: Merge 

Genre: Indie pop 

Comments: After a string of releases on Nonesuch, Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields are issuing their first record on Merge since 1999's landmark triple album 69 Love Songs. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is also the first Magnetic Fields LP since that seminal indie-pop release to employ synthesizers, as the three LPs in between were steeped in guitar sounds, both acoustic and electric. Technology has certainly changed in the last decade-plus; as Merritt has noted, "Most of the synthesizers on the record didn't exist when we were last using synthesizers."

So in short, Love at the Bottom of the Sea hearkens back to The Magnetic Fields' earlier work, while still sounding very fresh. As always, Merritt has penned a very strong set of tunes, mostly about love and its many pitfalls, with his twisted sense of humor in play on tracks like "All She Cares About Is Mariachi" and album standout "Andrew in Drag". Meanwhile, vocalist Shirley Simms provides a nice changeup from Merritt's gloomy baritone on several songs, including the excellent "Your Girlfriend's Face".

Spin tracks 2, 3, 10, 1 and 15.

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