Magnetic Fields Realism

Magnetic Fields Realism
The Magnetic Fields' self-imposed "no-synth trilogy" couldn't end with any more purity of sound than the production, sparse instrumentation and spirit found on Realism. A companion piece/counterpoint to 2008's Distortion (the "sequel" to 2004's i), Realism is Stephin Merritt's tribute to the dreamy folk of Judy Collins and other purveyors of orchestral acoustic music in the mid- to late '60s. The album monikers are nods to Merritt's production approach; Realism consists almost entirely of acoustic strings, hand-thumped percussion and human voices, which is an exaggerated 180-degree turn in terms of how the Magnetic Fields once presented their electronic pop songs. That said, the most curious attribute of Realism is just how surreal it is. Songs like "We Are Having a Hootenany" and "The Doll's Tea Party" possess a psychedelic haze, both within the airy vocals and cartoonish imagery. It's not a stoner record by any means, but Realism is a funny, earnest feast for heightened senses. (Nonesuch)