Stephin Merritt's Verismo

Magnetic Fields

Realism

Nonesuch CD

In a sharp turnaround from Magnetic Fields’ previous LP, the boisterous, thoroughly amplified ¬†Distortion, their latest release, Realism, contains a liner note caveat: ‘no synths.’ Realism brings the unplugged aesthetic to Stephin Merritt’s wittily acerbic songs – with stirring results.

“You Must be Out of Your Mind” is a classic example of Merritt’s simultaneously humorous and poignant lyrics – a paean to jilted lovers everywhere, exhorting them to avoid their former partners like the plague. A small sampling, “You think I’ll run, not walk, to you, Why would I want to talk to you? I want you crawling back to me, down on your knees, yeah, Like an appendectomy, sans ¬†anesthesia…” Ouch!

Meanwhile, “We are Having a Hootenanny Now” celebrates the bluegrass/alt-folk signatures employed throughout the album with a rousing verse, rollicking chord changes, and a dialing back of Magnetic Fields’ ironic propensities in favor of a moment of musical jocularity.

But don’t expect Merritt to refrain from tongue-in-cheek witticisms for long. “Everything is One Big Tree” allows for irony to reign supreme once again; complete with a second chorus in German!

Realism is required listening – It’s been in heavy rotation since its arrival here at 218 Augusta St.!

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Sadly, the band’s not letting any of this material out for preview, but RCRDLBL has been kind enough to share a couple tracks from their preceding releases.

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