The Magnetic Fields : Love At The Bottom Of The Sea

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The Magnetic Fields : Love At The Bottom Of The Sea



Love At the Bottom Of the Sea is a return to the Domino label for The Magnetic Fields after a trio of synthesizer-free albums, but it’s a few good songs short of a return to form. Love is the theme once again and all the gang are back, ensuring there are snatches of 69 Love Songs’ greatness.


The best songs pitch neurotic, staid lyrics and vocals against popping, fizzing electro to great effect. God Wants Us To Wait is like a sister song to I Thought I Was Your Boyfriend, its sleazy disco trappings grating gleefully against a robotically moral lyric. Andrew In Drag is a typically subversive ode to unrequited love with a one-off drag show as the setting. The Machine In Your Hand is an industrial-meets-twee plea to be someone’s iPod, while I’ve Run Away To Join The Fairies pushes the rejected protagonist to leave reality altogether.


Stephin Merritt has gone for a less-is-more approach on this recording, with all songs clocking in at just over the two-minute mark. Sadly, this highlights much of the material as novelty, as some tracks wrap up simply because the lyrical gag has been exhausted (or well after it has been exhausted, as is the case with the groan-inducing I‘d Go Anywhere With Hugh). There’s more than enough room for fun, queer electro-pop and it’s great to see Merritt’s humour back with a vengeance. But Love At The Bottom Of The Sea lacks the heart that he used to effortlessly weave into his songs and, aside from the odd giggle, it doesn’t much of an emotive response.


A+ for the funny song titles, B- for the songs themselves.




Best track: Andrew In Drag

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In A Word: Novelty