Album review: The Magnetic Fields – Realism (Nonesuch)

Tuck into some sophisticated sarcasm from one of pop's finest songwriters

The soft-shoe companion to 2008’s hard-soled, feedback-drenched ‘Distortion’, ‘Realism’ uses virginal Judy Collins albums as its jump-off point. But with this still being the work of MF’s mainman Stephin Merritt, it’s much less peace-signs and ponchos at dawn and more like sophisticated sarcasm for elevenses. ‘Distortion’’s ‘California Girls’ finds its match in ‘The Dolls’ Tea Party’; a terse unveiling of Upper East Side mores with a killer Claudia Gonson vocal, it rips into high society with the grace of an Oscar Wilde put-down. Similarly, the last album’s ‘Too Drunk To Dream’ is mirrored by the tongue-in-cheek waltz ‘Seduced And Abandoned’. More A-grade angst from one of our cleverest songwriters.

Priya Elan

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