You can easily excuse a three-and-a-half year absence by the Magnetic Fields. After all, the group's last release was 1999's three-CD opus 69 Love Songs, which, true to its title, offered up one song shy of seventy. In the interim, frontman Stephin Merritt has hardly been idle, releasing projects with his other bands the 6ths in 2000, the Future Bible Heroes in 2002 and a pair of soundtracks in 2002 and 2003. But last year, Merritt called the Magnetic Fields back to action, and the group's new album, i, will be released on May 4th.
Once again, the Fields -- Merritt along with John Woo (banjo and guitar), Sam Davol (cello) and Claudia Gonson (piano, percussion) -- go thematic, as each of i's fourteen songs have a title that begins with the letter "i."
Merritt has also been busy with Peach Blossom Fan, a new opera he wrote that will debut on April 11th at the Red Cat Theater in Los Angeles. The project, his second collaboration with theater director Shi-Zheng Chen, will run through April 25th.
The Magnetic Fields plan to tour the U.S. from May through July.