The Llama Scribe

March 11, 2008

Excitement in the Air

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 1:11 am
Tags: , , ,

With one week to go till the Magnetic Fields show in Chicago, I decided to do a spot of research on their current tour, so as to prepare myself and avoid the disasterbacle that was the Of Montreal concert at the Canopy in October.  To my great relief, I found this in a review of their February 29th show at Harvard’s Somerville Theater:

“Though songs from “Distortion,” the band’s newest album, are covered in layers of shoegaze distortion, feedback, and electronic effects, the live performance was entirely acoustic, consisting of piano, guitar, cello, and bouzouki (an eight-stringed instrument similar to a mandolin). Adapting the new songs to this format consisted mostly of removing drums and guitars to expose the melodies underneath. Merritt’s latest lyrics emerged from the layers of guitar noise to reveal a sincerity and intimacy unheard since “69 Love Songs.” Compared to the pristine, stripped-down acoustic versions, the studio recordings from “Distortion” sound cluttered and muddy.”  

I’ve been trying to get into Distortion, but it sounds so little like the band that I fell in love with last summer that I found myself terrified of having to sit through two hours of…well…distortion. I understand the musical statement that Merritt and the band were making with the album, but the truth is that 69 Love Songs, and to a lesser extent the band’s earlier albums, form a uniquely pleasurable listening experience which is not replicated in the newest album. I booked the tickets for Friday well in advance of Distortion‘s January release, and I’m infinitely happy to hear that the show should be more like what I was expecting in November- sweet, sardonic lyrics with an accompaniment to match.(Pictured is Stephin Merritt, the songwriter and singer for the Magnetic Fields, as well as the 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, and the Gothic Archies).


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