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Hyacinths and Thistles

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Album Review

Stephin Merritt's the 6ths' second album isn't nearly as dynamic as his Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, nor is it quite as good as the first 6ths' album, Wasps' Nests. It is, however, another crowning achievement for Merritt. "As You Turn to Go," with Scottish eccentric Momus, is one of Merritt's most moving love songs, a tender, irony-free caress. And the atmospheric "Oahu" wraps its spare melody in a package of primitive synth beeps (which repeat the same tranquil loop for the album's concluding 25 minutes). Hyacinths and Thistles falls between Merritt's two musical passions: old-style songwriting and '80s new wave. But the abundant, and diverse, choice of vocalists here (including Sally Timms, Bob Mould, Melanie, Gary Numan, and Marc Almond) puts the accent on the song, rather than the singer. Take this as Merritt the songwriter's demo tape, indication of what he is capable of.

Customer Reviews


This album is great. I can't believe nobody has reviewed it. All these songs are so mellow and refreshing to the ears. Especially in a time where mainstream pop rules the airwaves. I especially love As You Turn to Go. It always puts me in a good mood :)

A favorite...

I forgot about this album, until just a minute ago when my husband started humming a song in the kitchen while dancing with me. So then I jumped on my computer to listen. And then decided to review it. I listened to it obsessively a few years ago, and all the songs are dear to me. I love it.


Formed: 1994

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The 6ths are a side project of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, who produced and wrote all of the material on 1995's Wasps' Nest, as well as playing much of the music. He only sang one of the tracks, however, giving all of the remaining lead vocal slots to alternative rock faves like Barbara Manning, Dean Wareham (Luna), Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo), Chris Knox, Lou Barlow, Robert Scott (the Bats), Chris Knox, and Mary Timony (Helium). Brighter and poppier than his contemporaneous efforts with...
Full Bio
Hyacinths and Thistles, The 6ths
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Customer Ratings