Distortion

It isn’t often that an album excites me this much upon first listen, but The Magnetic Fields’ Distortion, out tomorrow via Nonesuch, is the first hype-worthy album of 2008. I started listening to it earlier today, and I just can’t stop. Holy fuck is it good. At the risk of sounding reductive, I’m going to say it combines the stronger elements of 1999’s 69 Love Songs (Stephin Merritt’s deep, echo-chamber voice, general bounciness, lyrical cleverness and humor) with Beach Boys-style pop and then drenches it all in a bath of Jesus and Mary Chain-inspired distortion (get it?).

Some initial highlights:

“California Girls”: A bubbly diatribe against the sunkissed (or tanned-orange), towheaded (bottle blonde) bitches of the Sunshine State. “I hate California girls,” sings co-lead vocalist Shirley Simms. I do, too. Most of them, anyway.

“Mr. Mistletoe”: A bit late for the holiday season, but the fuzzed-out jingle bells beat anything in Santa’s sleigh.

“The Nun’s Litany”: The best irreligious sing-song track since Belle and Sebastian’s “If You’re Feeling Sinister.”

Curious? You can stream the whole thing here.

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