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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As album producer, Stephin Merritt takes a completely novel approach to his deployment of feedback, going well beyond mere fuzzed-out guitar to incorporate cello, piano and accordion into his mad-scientist mix. What he' conjured up is a gorgeous drone that reverberates over the length of 13 tunes - from the exuberantly rocking opener, "Three Way," to the soused, sing-along lament, "Too Drunk To Dream."

"h3"About the Artist "p"Fans of the Jesus and Mary Chain will surely be thrilled with "i"Distortion, which lives up to its title in the first few seconds of the jovial opener, "Three Way." The entire album is awash in a bed of feedback and noise sharp enough to match bandleader/Svengali Stephen Merritt's notoriously wry lyrical jabs. In its willful obfuscation of simple melodies, Distortion recalls MF's earlier, more electronic, more reverb-soaked output. Of course, Merritt's songs could probably work with any arrangement, cacophonous or otherwise. His lyrics and succinct melodies survive the treatment, and his inner Cole Porter remains intact. "California Girls" features regular collaborator Shirley Simms cheerily plotting a battle-axe attack on some of the more blonde and plastic elements of California society (Simms handles vocal duties on about half the tunes here). "Mr. Mistletoe" is an anti-carol with a forlorn Merritt attaching his romantic betrayal to various holiday symbols. "Too Drunk to Dream" is classic Merritt, with an upbeat but down-on-its-luck refrain: "I gotta get too drunk to dream / Because I only dream of you." Drenched in distortion, MF's now-expected acoustic instruments--cello, piano, accordion--create some remarkable textures. Merritt and crew remain full of songs and surprises, and in finding their ability to make a ruckus, have created an inarguably singular offering. --Jason Pace

Distortion