The Magnetic Fields: Love at the Bottom of the Sea

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

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Anticipation was high for Love at the Bottom of the Sea because of its much publicized return to synths. After trying different things for the past three albums, The Magnetic Fields are back to the sound for which they’ve became known. So what does it sound like?

The Magnetic Fields were never a traditional synth-pop band and this album is no different. Synths are layered against a variety of of other instruments, creating a sound that’s all their own. The big exception to this is “Infatuation (With Your Gyration),” which is a pretty spot-on Devo impersonation.

This album’s a frustrating one. The opener, “God Wants Us to Wait,” is hilarious and a classic Stephen Merritt lyric if I’ve ever heard one. “Andrew in Drag” comes next and it’s even better. “Andrew” is the story of a man who only loves a girl that is not really a girl. It’s the obvious choice for a first single and you wonder why the other songs can’t be more like that one. Most of the rest of the album ranges from mildly amusing to completely uninteresting. Every song is under three minutes though so none of them get the chance to become too boring. Anyway, you’ll forget all about that by the time you get to “All She Cares About is Mariachi” and its brilliant last verse, “So go ahead and hire Saatchi and Saatchi/ To advertise the sausage in your pants/ But all she cares about is mariachi/ And all she ever wants to do is dance.”

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