OnlineRock Blog

15 December 2011

The Magnetic Fields Return to Merge Records With New Album

By Ana Diaz

On March 6th of this upcoming year, The Magnetic Fields are scheduled to release their tenth full-length studio album, Love at the Bottom of the Sea. This upcoming release is a homecoming of sorts for the band because, after over ten years and three albums, they are returning to Merge Records and to their distinctive mix of synth and acoustic sounds.

The Magnetic Fields.

Though The Magnetic Fields has its usual cast of collaborators and members, the band is the primary creative outlet of American singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt. Merritt produces, sings, and plays a large potion of the instruments used. The band’s multifaceted characteristic sound, usually a blend of synthesizers and string instruments, stems from Merritt’s brooding pop oriented lyrics and its allusion to older electronic acts such as Kraftwerk.

The Magnetic Fields’ fearless leader, Stephin Merritt.

The band made its debut in the early 90s but it wasn’t until 1999 that they released their  most popular album and magnum opus to date, 69 Love Songs. 69 Love Songs was a monumental 3 volume concept album that was literally composed of 69 songs about love. After this immense endeavor, Merritt took a break from The Magnetic Fields and focused on his various side projects. Unfazed by the colossal act he needed to follow, Merritt and his cohorts returned in 2004 with i. The return brought fans a synth-free version of The Magnetic Fields as well as album full of tracks beginning with the letter "i," all of which were listed alphabetically. i was followed by two more string-centric albums, Distortion and Realism. These three albums have since become know as the no-synth trilogy.

Yes, there really were 69 tracks.

Why now are they returning to their tried and true auditory blend?  Merritt attributes his refreshed interest to the ever changing technological landscape: “I was very happy to be using synthesizers in ways that I had not done before. Most of the synthesizers on the record didn't exist when we were last using synthesizers.” In support of their upcoming album, the band will be embarking on a North American and European tour. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is available for pre-order on the Merge Records website. Those lucky enough to make the first 100 orders will receive a free signed poster and button.

Love at the Bottom of the Sea marks the band’s return to synthesizers.

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