The Magnetic Fields
Love At The Bottom Of The Sea
Merge Records 
Fire Note Says: The Magnetic Fields make a return to their early beginnings on the synthesizer driven Love At The Bottom Of The Sea.
You are never quite sure what you will get from Stephen Merrit and his Magnetic Fields but one thing is always for certain - he aims to entertain. Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is the group's tenth full length album and features a departure from the bands more guitar driven last three records as it embraces a full synthesizer return to The Magnetic Fields earlier material.
The band sounds re-engerized here as most of the synthesizers utilized were not around when they last had used them in the creative process. This gives Love At The Bottom Of The Sea a fresh sound and a very new vibe for The Magnetic Fields in 2012 as none of the album's 15 tracks pass the three minute mark nor slow down the pop surge.
Tracks like "Andrew In Drag" and "Infatuation (With Your Gyration)" bounce with a whip-smart pop attitude that represent the perfect blend of synthesizer and hooks. The songs are memorable and are just as fun every time you spin them. The only real drawback to Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is that because it is so focused on synthesizers and short duration song lengths the album becomes a bit repetitive and only shows off one or two sides to this typical multi-dimensional band.
Overall The Magnetic Fields have created a good album with Love At The Bottom Of The Sea as they break away from their last eight year direction. This record is a true flashback to their early 90's era while having a very modern flare. The over sweetness of some of the tracks may wear on some listeners but old fans of the band might actually be drawn back in. Hopefully with a bit more refinement of the same idea The Magnetic Fields can harness this energy into something even better next time out as it is still refreshing to hear their old personality come back to the forefront!
Key Tracks: "Andrew In Drag", "Infatuation (With Your Gyration)", "God Wants Us To Wait"
Bands With Similar Fire:
They Might Be Giants
The Apples In Stereo
Stephin Merritt: Obscurities [Fire Note Review 8/25/11]
The Magnetic Fields: Realism [Fire Note Review 1/28/10]
The Magnetic Fields: Distortion [Fire Note Review 1/25/08]
Stephin Merritt Website
Stephin Merritt Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony