Hyacinths and Thistles

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Stephin Merritt, the mastermind of the 6ths, made his grand statement with the1999 Magnetic Fields release 69 Love Songs, on which he proved that he is one of the most creative songwriters of his generation. Hyacinths and Thistles, which was recorded prior to the Love Songs, is a less grandiose affair. It hearkens back to the early, keyboard-based Magnetic Fields sound, and with few exceptions, uses spare, simple settings designed to keep the focus on the lyrics and the vocals of this collection of ballads. The first 6ths collection, the equally tongue-twistingly titled Wasps' Nests, employed mainstays from the indie-rock world to sing Merritt's songs; Hyacinths casts a...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Stephin Merritt, the mastermind of the 6ths, made his grand statement with the1999 Magnetic Fields release 69 Love Songs, on which he proved that he is one of the most creative songwriters of his generation. Hyacinths and Thistles, which was recorded prior to the Love Songs, is a less grandiose affair. It hearkens back to the early, keyboard-based Magnetic Fields sound, and with few exceptions, uses spare, simple settings designed to keep the focus on the lyrics and the vocals of this collection of ballads. The first 6ths collection, the equally tongue-twistingly titled Wasps' Nests, employed mainstays from the indie-rock world to sing Merritt's songs; Hyacinths casts a wider net for its vocalists, reaching back to resurrect icons of the '60s folk scene Odetta, Melanie and '80s new wave Marc Almond, Gary Numan as well as several contemporaries Momus, Sally Timms. While the settings are coherently minimal, the genres span the map, from the Hawiian waves of "Volcana!" and "Oahu" to the Kurt Weill-styled "I've Got New York" to the Brill Building pop of "You You You You You" beautifully sung by the Squirrel Nut Zippers' Katherine Whalen and the synth-pop of "Kissing Things," in which St. Etienne's Sarah Cracknell answers Irving Berlin's classic "How Deep Is the Ocean." No matter who's singing, though, these are Stephin Merritt songs through and through -- witty, self-aware, allusive, and brilliant.
All Music Guide - Michael Gallucci
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.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
Once again, audio savant Stephin Merritt weaves a seamless work out of an unlikely collection of singers.

Once again, audio savant Stephin Merritt weaves a seamless work out of an unlikely collection of singers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/5/2000
  • Label: Merge Records
  • UPC: 036172948529
  • Catalog Number: 29485
  • Sales rank: 190,157

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 As You Turn to Go (1:59)
  2. 2 Give Me Back My Dreams (3:06)
  3. 3 He Didn't (2:30)
  4. 4 I've Got New York (2:12)
  5. 5 Just Like a Movie Star - Dominique A (4:11)
  6. 6 Kissing Things (2:28)
  7. 7 Lindy Lou - Miho Hatori (1:45)
  8. 8 Night Falls Like a Grand Piano (2:35)
  9. 9 The Dead Only Quickly - Neil Hannon (1:03)
  10. 10 The Sailor in Love With the Sea (2:41)
  11. 11 Volcana! (3:05)
  12. 12 Waltzing Me All the Way Home (1:51)
  13. 13 You You You You You - Katharine Whalen (3:10)
  14. 14 Oahu (28:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The 6ths Primary Artist
Odetta Track Performer
Marc Almond Vocals
Melanie Track Performer
Bob Mould Vocals
Gary Numan Vocals
Margaret Leng Tan Piano
Brian Dewan Zither
Miss Lily Banquette Vocals
Sarah Cracknell Vocals
Clare Grogan Vocals
Momus Track Performer
Sally Timms Vocals
Stephin Merritt Guitar, Keyboards
Sam Davol Cello
Ida Pearle Violin
John Woo Guitar
Miho Hatori Vocals
Katharine Whalen Track Performer
Neil Hannon Vocals
Claudia Gonson Piano, Drums
Daniel Handler Accordion
Dominique A Track Performer
Technical Credits
Nicholas Cudahy Engineer
David Merrill Engineer
Stephin Merritt Producer
Jon Berman Engineer
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