Love at the Bottom of the Sea
The Magnetic Fields return to their electropop roots (and their former home at Merge Records) for their 10th studio release, Love at the Bottom of the Sea. Fifteen short, synth-soaked songs in 34 minutes show off Stephin Merritt’s wordplay, wit, and gift for arrangement. Delivered in his distinctive sleepy deadpan manner, along with some quirky leads by Shirley Simms, these meditations on love and lust are catchy (“Quick!”), droll (“God Wants Us to Wait,” “Andrew in Drag”), dark (“You’re Girlfriend’s Face”), and goofy (“Goin’ Back to the Country,” “All She Cares About Is Mariachi”). In many ways, this is classic Magnetic Fields. Scratchy textures, skittering rhythms, and synthesizers have replaced the guitars that dominated the past three releases, yet it seems like a natural progression. Love will surely please old fans.