The news last year that Stephen Merritt’s next Magnetic Fields LP was to be coated in a thick slather of distortion, a la Jesus & The Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, seemed to elicit two immediate and disparate responses: “what??”, and, “yeah, that could be interesting.” I fell into both camps, as while I may be a longtime JAMC fan, I am also used to, and comfortable with, The Magnetic Fields go-to “sound” that they have perfected and expanded upon over the years. The prospect of Merritt’s often intimate songs drenched in feedback sounded like a desperate gamble; a gamble which – as it turns out – ended up being a good move. The album takes Merritt’s muse in a new direction without sacrificing what made us fans to begin with.
The Magnetic Fields are set to play the Henry Fonda Theatre, here in LA, on March 2nd.