Eleanor Friedberger's Singing Time
Fiery Furnaces frontwoman gets ‘Personal’ at the Parish
By Abby Johnston,
4:57PM, Mon. Jun. 24, 2013
When she’s singing with her brother, Eleanor Friedberger’s more complement than auteur. In the siblings’ Fiery Furnaces, Matthew plays primary songwriter, dragging Eleanor through challenging, boundless pop. Two years into the duo’s indefinite hiatus, Eleanor’s dropped her little sister reserve to indulge in pure sugar-pop goodness.
Still showing a soft spot for sibling collaboration, Friedberger tapped fellow Brooklyn sister act Teen to support her on tour. Kristina, Katherine, and Lizzie Lieberson, joined by bassist Jane Herships, blasted humid psychedelia. Lead lady Kristina brought the dreamlike proclivities she developed as the keyboardist for Here We Go Magic to her current project, delivering drone-induced delirium.
If the quartet cast hazy cloud cover, rays of Friedberger-tinted sunshine were about to break through. Two songs into her hour-long set Friday at the Parish, Friedberger paused to comment on her band’s daytime trip to Barton Springs.
“Do we look sun-kissed?,” she asked.
They didn’t, but sun-drenched sonics made up for fair skin. Diving into June’s Personal Record, Friedberger grounded elated jangle-pop with an effortless alto on songs like set opener “I Don’t Want to Bother You.” Energy spread through the crowd as up-tempo songs loaded the front part of the set.
Even Friedberger’s tour mates weren’t immune: during Last Summer favorite “Roosevelt Island,” two Teen sisters came bounding out of the greenroom arm-in-arm and wedged themselves against the stage. It felt like a safe space for your goofiest dance moves, scripted by Friedberger’s quick-fire pacing.
Just when the euphoria began to set in, Friedberger halted the cadence. The vulnerability of “Other Boys” translated from Personal Record to the stage, sounding equally resigned in its feigned self-assurance. Her threepiece backing band exited, leaving only Friedberger deftly plucking her electric guitar for “I am the Past,” eliciting goosebumps and silencing a chatty crowd.