Music » CD Reviews

Stephin Merritt

Eban & Charley (Merge)

by

comment
40053.0.jpeg
Throughout his wildly eclectic and outstanding career, Stephin Merritt has managed to cloak himself in a variety of band disguises -- Magnetic Fields, the 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, the Gothic Archies. They all were put in the service of his frighteningly vulnerable baroque pop songs. The constants in these various personas have been revolving-door membership and a tendency for Merritt to hide behind the veil of his band constructions -- ironic for someone who reveals himself so blatantly in song.

With the release of the soundtrack from the independent film Eban & Charley, Merritt takes a tentative step away from his group activities to test the waters as a true solo artist. The range exhibited on Eban & Charley is similar in scope to the Magnetic Fields' stunning 69 Love Songs, with brilliantly executed pop of aching depth ("Maria Maria Maria") or tossed-off charm ("Poppyland," "This Little Ukelele"). The difference here is that Merritt gets the opportunity to write little bits of connecting sonic tissue that help define the mood of the film and act as buffers between the legitimate pop songs on the soundtrack. Taken as a whole, this elegant, affecting disc proves that, if anyone deserves the heavy mantle of genius in these lean musical times, Stephin Merritt is the likeliest and most reluctant candidate.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.