Stephin Merritt, 'Obscurities' (Merge)

7
Obscurities
Critical Mass
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Label: Merge

by Marc Hogan

Stephin Merritt never has lacked for ideas. Under various guises, but mostly as the Magnetic Fields, the wittily morose indie-pop maestro has issued or reissued a dozen or so records. This well-curated compilation dusts off a few more previously unreleased tracks that play like castoffs, but the rarities -- including an unintentionally moving Patsy Cline parody, a Moog-warped "I Don't Believe You," and an alternate version of "Take Ecstasy With Me" sung by longtime cohort Susan Anway -- are prime Merritt. Perfect for Magnetic Fields fans let down by 2010's concept-heavy Realism.

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