On Love At the Bottom of the Sea, the Magnetic Fields dusted off synthesizers for the first time in a dozen years, returning to the synth-pop sound that carried the band through the 1990s as well as to the band's old label, Merge. Despite numerous side projects, leader Stephin Merritt seems most at home in the quintessential pop haze set adrift by those ABBA-dappled synths, toying with words and trying to crack cosmic jokes. Bottom, for example, kicks off with "God Wants Us to Wait," the narrator suddenly uttering Michele Bachmann inanities when things have progressed to a certain urgency. Next there's "Andrew in Drag," a catchy ditty about the oddly unattainable "only girl I'll ever love." The laughs, puns, and non-sequiturs continue to fly, "mariachi" somehow rhyming with "Liberace," along with comic irritations, infatuations, and gyrations all bathed in synth emanations just clever enough not to be cheesy. 18+.
Tue., Nov. 13, 7 p.m., 2012