Magnetic Fields

Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Merge)

SXSW 2012 Records

Magnetic Fields

Love at the Bottom of the Sea (Merge)

The abiding narrative, that this is the Mags' big return to electronic music, is overplayed. Yes, Stephin Merritt & Co. have found pretty new toys to play and play with – new synthesizer tech that does things beyond their last electo-cuting, the landmark 69 Love Songs (Merge), before they "unplugged" for the i, Distortion, and Realism trilogy (Nonesuch) – but the lasting impression is in the lyricism and melody. Their liberal word-cram of mixed meter and sea-shanty pentameter is on full display on instant jaunty novelties like "Andrew in Drag," "My Husband's Pied-a-Terre," and "God Wants Us To Wait." High points include the haunting yet hysterical "Your Girlfriend's Face," but where the wordplay really gets in its cups is the Lee Hazelwood/Leonard Cohen rumble of "I've Run Away To Join the Fairies" and Marty Robbins grave-churner "All She Cares About Is Mariachi." Even saying the song titles aloud is a sing-along. (Fri., 8:45pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater)


Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More Magnetic Fields
Live Shots
The Magnetic Fields
SXSW Showcase Reviews

Zoe Cordes Selbin, March 16, 2012

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
ST 37
Fuck You, You Rule: ST 37's Greatest "Hits" (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, Oct. 20, 2017

Texas Platters
Laredo (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Sept. 1, 2017

More by Kate X Messer
The Gay Place: It's Aliiive!
It's Aliiive!
You can't keep a Gay Place down; just ask Sarah Marloff

Jan. 20, 2016

Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You

Jan. 15, 2016


Magnetic Fields

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)