I'm Lonely (and I Love It)
By: Eric G.
If I had to pick the weakest Stephin Merritt side project I’d have to say it’s Future Bible Heroes, hands down, and I firmly believe this is because Merritt doesn’t write the music himself (as he does in all of his other musical incarnations). Future Bible Heroes is an indulgent throwback to fluffy eighties dance pop a la the Human League and the Pet Shop Boys, but behind all the sequencers is ex-Figures On A Beach member Christopher Ewen, who lacks Merritt’s darker edge when he’s constructing patronizing retro-pop.
Merritt lends his lyrics and his voice to Ewen’s slick dancefloor tunes. But just like the band’s debut full-length, Memories Of Love, this EP leaves me somewhat cold. There are a few moments where Merritt’s wit makes it worthwhile, but the overwhelming sense is that these songs would have made better b-sides. It’s as though Merritt saved all the lyrics he’d scrapped from his real band, The Magnetic Fields, and kind of stuck them in at the last minute. Perhaps, Merritt has finally spread himself a little too thinly (with at least four bands to tend to). Then again, it would be silly to expect too much of him after last year’s genius magnum opus, 69 Love Songs.
This is unapologetically cheesy eighties dance music with the trademark syncopation and layered keyboard textures you’ve come to expect from your daily dose of eighties hits on your local commercial alternative station. Merritt’s winking irony just isn’t the type of thing that gets the club kids moving, though, so this EP is directed at the indie rock elite, who now bow and scrape at Mr. Merritt’s every public offering. This is almost justifiable, considering his impressive career output, but even the most devout Merritt acolyte would have to admit that Future Bible Heroes isn’t on par with either The 6ths or The Gothic Archies much less The Magnetic Fields.