I like Magnetic Fields, generally, but I find Mr. Merrit somewhat insufferable in the way that absolutely everything has to be attached to some sort of concept, even a very vague one. Not doubting that he sings from the heart, just saying the elephant in the room usually keeps me from embracing him fully. This one's fine, but is giving me no reason to think it really transcends its conceptual limits.
B is an Irish (as opposed to English) Freakbeat semi-success story, signed to Columbia and sent to London, they didn't have staying power ultimately, but there were several singles that flirted with chart success, the biggest of which, "Turn Out the Light," was censored for being too suggestive; if not for that songs like this might have had a better chance. The production's a bit on the limp side, but there's enough of a sense that there's some songwriting skill there to pique my interest, even without fiddles.
Whilst I quite liked A's spacey, slightly cavernous production, the song and, especially, the delivery were like nails down a blackboard for me. It was cutesy and ingratiating and came across like a particularly oleaginous salesman. Really disliked it. Sorry.
I'm not sure why Hatz is talking about freakbeat in relation to B. It seemed to have nothing to do with that, instead it was well-produced, slightly too polite, folk-rock. It was very pleasant and the kind of thing I'd enjoy as part of a compilation, but it didn't have the stand out qualities for me to want to seek it out on its own terms.
A is quite a pretty thing, with a decent production effort, somewhat let down by the vocals. A bit smug sounding, like he's not really taking responsibility for the song, or that he's being somehow ironic in choosing to sing it. Not sure why he's gone for that detached approach. Could've been good.
B sounds to me like the kind of thing that might've come from a freakbeat background in Ireland, and moved to a slightly folkier sound, but that's just my reading from listening to the track alone. It's not too bad, compared to some of the failed rock things we've had, but it feels very slight and inconsequential.