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- Last Summer by Eleanor Friedberger
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 29 July 2011
I keep meaning to buy the last Fiery Furnaces record 'I'm Going Away' where finally their penchant for excess was reined in a little. Originally a sort of White Stripes Volume 2, they quickly pursued an idiosyncratic muse, taking in music hall, madcap prog, Sparks-like histrionics and everything in between. Following a 1 out of 10 review in NME for their second album, the excellent 'Blueberry Boat', I followed their eccentric career with interest despite them officially being the worst band I've ever seen live following a despairing gig at the Cockpit, Leeds. Anyway, whilst brother Matthew pursues his six-album 'Solos' folly, sister Eleanor makes a much more straight up pop record that could finally propel her somewhere towards the mainstream. It basically sounds like a Fiery Furnaces shorn of all the eccentricity and absurd musical tangents. 'My Mistakes' is an excellent opener with nice scratchy Strokes like guitar and a hell of a catchy chorus. It's followed immediately by 'Inn of the Seventh Ray' which slows the pace, utilizing effectively Friedberger's distinctive almost scat like half spoken/half singing vocal style before once again providing a simple but effective chorus which lingers long in the memory. On 'Roosevelt Island' it's interesting to see Friedberger attempt a discofied Bee Gees squelch stomp which really suits her style and is not completely dissimilar to Sheryl Crowe's 'All I Wanna Do' if that doesn't make you want to throw up. But it's an anomaly amongst the material as what we get are Friedberger's clever, wordy mid-paced catchy tunes, a careful hand on the desk, placing her voice nice and high in the mix and no self-consciously arty messing about.
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