The Fiery Furnaces were always a little too experimental for me, with the exception of the very excellent “Duplexes of the Dead” and “Ex-Guru” off the album “Widow City”. Those songs proved that I had some common ground with Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger, and they performed them fantastically well on their most recent Morning Becomes Eclectic appearance.
When I saw a solo album from Eleanor called ” Last Summer” in my stack of cds this weekend, I was definitely curious and was quickly won over by the first song “My Mistakes.”
Stream “My Mistakes”
(check out the video here, where Britt Daniel from Spoon makes a special appearance)
Catchy power pop right out of the gate! I ended up listening to the entire album twice in a row. Her vocal style is so unique — she delivers her words like a poet making sure you hear each and every one, rather than using them as a means to show off her vocal range.
Unlike me, Music Librarian and DJ Eric J Lawrence is a longstanding Fiery Furnaces fan and saw them play a stripped down show at Largo just last month, with Matthew on piano and Eleanor on vocals. He says the songs “sparkled” in that format, so he’s not surprised her solo material is so engaging. It’s clear Matthew is the “headier,” more experimental member of the band – in fact, his solo albums each feature him playing just one instrument, the most recent being the harp.
Together or apart, its clear they are a talented, dynamic family that will keep pushing the envelope one way or the other.
Editor’s Note: “Last Summer” will be out in July on Merge Records.