Fiery Furnaces

EP (Rough Trade / Sanctuary)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

Fiery Furnaces

EP (Rough Trade/Sanctuary)

This early 2005 collection of odds and sods from the siblings Friedberger is a lesson in dynamics. Like their critically stalked 2004 rock-cept LP, Blueberry Boat, the tempo changes are many, the lyrics nonsensical, the feel epic. Opener "Single Again" is a jerky, electro-cathartic crawl through singer/organist Eleanor's stiff lyrics of abuse ("He beat me, he banged me, he swore he would hang me. I wish I was single again"), which segues into the breezy ballad "Here Comes the Summer." "Evergreen" is lilting, Seventies AM radio; it's like the Captain & Tennille getting drunk at a poetry reading as Eleanor sings, "Needle prick my spruce root, dear little hemlock shoot." Toward the end of the 40-minute disc, things start getting neon and weird. "Smelling Cigarettes" is a tale of suburban woe; the streets are lined with disjointed piano interludes and tambourine and Eleanor's strident vocals shout from every window. On "Sweet Spots," brother Matthew gets his T. Rex fix, classic rocking over a stream-of-conscience monologue: "It's red hot to get lemonheaded and live with Alexander the Grape." The inhabitants of closer "Sullivan's Social Club" (Danny Dungerees, Gary Guttergunk, Sally Summerdress, etc.) extend the Furnaces' whimsical scope of piano-based paranoia, creating a menagerie of manic majesty. (Saturday, 5:30pm, AMD stage)

****

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