Published Jun 04, 2013The lines between Stephin Merritt's bands are really beginning to blur. There was a time when Future Bible Heroes was his outlet for all things electronic, but that changed with the last Magnetic Fields album. And, to be honest, it seemed like he might have retired this particular project because it has been more of a decade since their last proper release.
That said, not a whole lot has changed on Partygoing. The synths are as twinkly and sparkly as ever, and the songs walk their usual line between catchy and bleak with a vague theme of drinking and partying. Vocal duties are shared by the man himself and long-time collaborator Claudia Gonson, something which again makes it hard to determine which of Merritt's bands this is. The more blatant attempts at humour, such as the cameo impression-laden "Drink Nothing But Champagne" are more of a mixed bag.
Merritts's songs have always been rife with absurdity but they work better when it isn't forced. He's still hitting the mark more often than not, but Partygoing is at its best when things are dark and melancholy, and that more than makes up for its patchiness. (Merge)