I'll Dream Alone
Stephen Merritt goes power pop with class, combining the Magnetic Fields' home-spun indie rock with lo-fi distortion. Sometimes the results sound as if Quentin Crisp was singing in the shower while an old Jesus and Mary Chain tune wafts through a transistor radio. That is no swipe -- the songs on Distortion are as witty, literate and oddly touching as usual. "California Girls" is as cutting as the Beach Boys' classic was heartfelt and "The Nun's Litany" is yet another Merritt song that employs both his '80s synth-pop fixation and his cheeky desire to shock.