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The Fiery Furnaces
EP
Rough Trade Records
www.thefieryfurnaces.com


This band seems to elicit either gushing floods of praise, or vitriolic fits of disgust. I'll venture to say that both are a bit overboard, even though I quite enjoyed this album. I had a chance to listen quickly to Blueberry Boat during a distribution session for records, but I didn't really "get" it, so I thought maybe Bishop might like it. Clearly, that was a wrong assessment since he fell into the "what the fuck is this?" category of listener/critic.

If there's one thing here that may temper the polarizing reviews of their previous effort, it's that EP, while still venturing into the unconventional narrative lyrics of their past efforts, tends to have more concise songs than The Fiery Furnaces have been known for in the past. Indeed, they are at their most brilliant here when they put their own spin onto the pop-rock formula with stand-outs like "Here Comes The Summer", "Sing For Me" and "Tropical Iceland." These not only have coherent and clever lyrics, but the songs themselves, so casually presented, are simply brilliant as widely differing examples of pop music. From track 6 onward, the music tends to delve into the meandering narratives the band is known for to varying effect, but none of them is so long as to completely lose the listener's attention. The stories are whimsical and amusing as exemplified by "Smelling Cigarettes", or employ tricks of presentation as in the excessively alliterative "Cousin Chris" which is largely nonsensical but is just kind of fun to listen to. Music, to the Friedbergers seems to be a toy of some sort and they are unhindered by the marketability of their songs when they start to play around. For that alone, they garner my respect, but for creating a fun and silly album they receive my accolade.

-JD

1. Single Again
2. Here Comes The Summer
3. Evergreen
4. Sing For Me
5. Tropical-Iceland
6. Duffer St. George
7. Smelling Cigarettes
8. Cousin Chris
9. Sweet Spots
10. Sullivan's Social Club


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