Distortion by Magnetic Fields

One of my favourite groups since they stole my heart with 1999’s three-disc set, 69 Love Songs (Best. Breakup music.Ever), the Magnetic Fields are back with their latest offering, Distortion.

The album is technically the work of four consistent group members (but really the work of bitterly funny lead singer-songwriter Stephen Merritt), and I’m happy to report that love is still unrequited ("Three-Way"), the dryly clever lyrics still abound ("The Nun’s Litany"), and the sing-along potential is still there ("Too Drunk Too Dream"). Fans of the ultimate indie-pop band will be surprised—and some probably a little disappointed—by the louder, harder rock edge to this offering. But the sunny quirkiness familiar to the Field’s hardcore fans is still there, particularly in the tracks where Merritt re-teams with Shirley Simms, the sweet poppy vocalist that turned 69 Love Songs into the art school classic that it was.

(Warner/Nonesuch Records)

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