Review: Magnetic Fields add synth with latest CD

SIAN WATSON Associated Press Published:

The Magnetic Fields, "Love at the Bottom of the Sea" (Merge Records)

The Magnetic Fields are still on the quest for romance.

"Love at the Bottom of the Sea" finds the band once again exploring the theme of failed love affairs using biting lyricism, thanks to leader and songwriter Stephin Merritt, but this time with added synth.

Rather than traditional love songs lamenting pain and anguish, the Magnetic Fields mock the heightened emotions of love with sarcastic lyrics.

"Andrew in Drag" is a dreamy ditty in which Merritt sings about being in love with a cross-dresser: The moment seeing Andrew in a dress means that Merritt can't love anyone else again, and causes him to ponder his "misspent youth."

"Quick!" is a plea for a lover to shape up or ship out. Its lyrics are again another example of the clever wordplay employed by Merritt, as they take unexpected twists like "what a waste of all those beers," when you would expect the line to be "what a waste of all those years."

"My Husband's Pied-a-Terre," about an adulterous partner, starts out slow and mournful, but the hilarious rhyming -- "pied-à-terre' coupled with "derriere" for example -- illustrates just what a talented songwriter Merritt actually is.

All of the songs on the album are under three minutes, allowing them to be punchy and not overdone.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Infatuation (With Your Gyration)" continues the synth theme with an added concoction of vocal pitches.

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Sian Watson covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sianwatson