Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Magnetic Fields: Get Lost [Merge, 1995]
Reflecting a recording budget rumored to have risen by as much as $450, Stephin Merritt's craft shines brightly half the time--the song that mentions the Beach Boys actually feigns happiness. Just as important, his largely theoretical group starts to resemble a band--although cheap synth rhythms remain their thing, the banjo, flute, and ukulele are felt as unique sound, not just arch affectation. Here and there, you'd even swear Merritt is singing about his own feelings. How'd he ever come up with that? A-