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Hyacinths and Thistles Image
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68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt returns with a second disc under The 6ths nameplate (following 1995's Wasps' Nests). Like its predecessor, this album features original Merritt compositions sung by guest vocalists, including Gary Numan, Sarah Cracknell, Marc Almond, Bob Mould, and Sally Timms.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. These music box songs never overstay their welcome.
  2. In contrast to the 6ths' blissed-out "Wasps Nests," which included indie credibles Lou Barlow and Georgia Hubley, "Hyacinths" mines cabaret territory.
  3. 80
    As with all Stephin Merritt productions, the real stars are Stephin Merritt's wonderful songs, and the 14 love songs on Hyacinths And Thistles are as sweet and prickly as the title suggests.
  4. 70
    Hyacinths and Thistles takes a grab-bag approach to whisper-soft pop, though, at times, the lullaby vibe dangerously teeters between being appealingly fey and overly precious.
  5. The 6ths is all about incongruity (where else could you find Gary Numan, 70-year-old folk diva Odetta and Sarah Cracknell sharing space?) and as such it`s an eclectic affair.
  6. Stephin Merritt's the 6th's second album isn't nearly as dynamic as his Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, nor is it quite as good as the first 6th's album, Wasps' Nests. It is, however, another crowning achievement for Merritt.
  7. [Merritt] leaves vocal duties entirely to his guests here, an impressive group that includes new-wave forebear Gary Numan and '70s warbler Melanie alongside an all-star collection of indie-rock fixtures. Unfortunately, he's given them some of his weakest material to date, delicate but forgettable songs that often sound like discarded leftovers from 69 Love Songs.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. TimT.
    Oct 20, 2001
    9
    Hard to fault the songs--the finest, most-sustained collection of Merritt's work. The only shortcoming I can see is the writing style Hard to fault the songs--the finest, most-sustained collection of Merritt's work. The only shortcoming I can see is the writing style forces the singer to adopt Merritt's own vocal delivery. To be honest this is so minor a criticism as to be almost pointless Hyacinths & Thistles is what they are listening to in heaven Expand

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