It's a somewhat pointless exercise for Stephin Merritt to release his work under so many different monikers (Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes, the 6ths, and the Gothic Archies), but this little idiosyncrasy doesn't make the music any less gorgeous. The New Despair treads the same inorganic, melancholy synth ground as most of Merritt's other work, with equally satisfying results. That said, it is true that the Gothic Archies title does have its own sonic identity: thin, distant guitars take over some of the space Merritt usually fills with synths, and The New Despair's compositions push his pop experiments past the familiar ground of Magnetic Fields and into more varied, adventurous territory. As a result, the seven songs on the record almost seem to have more depth and consistency than some of Merritt's other endeavors.
New Despair EP Review
by Nitsuh Abebe