Fiery Furnaces

Widow City | Thrill Jockey
By RICHARD BECK  |  December 3, 2007
1.5 1.5 Stars
Ever since the release of their 76-minute sophomore album, Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade), Brooklyn’s Fiery Furnaces — the brother-and-sister duo of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger — have been lauded as one of indie rock’s more ambitious, idiosyncratic bands. On that disc, they moved on from the guitar/drums immediacy of garage rock to a more textured approach that deployed dozens of instruments (keyboards, drum machines, and a whole bucket of samples and loops) and topped it off with references as disparate as pirates, Damascus, and the White Sox. Then in 2005, they got their grandmother involved by soundtracking her storytelling on Rehearsing My Choir (Rough Trade). Both releases contributed to their reputation as a band with an overflow of ideas. On Widow City, however, the duo’s intellectual expansiveness leads into shallow waters. They’ve developed an annoying penchant for alliteration: lyrics like “Mopes in the moonlight on the mesa in March,” references to “the petrol pump” and a “crazy quilts and collectibles collection,” song titles like “Wicker Whatnots” abound. And it’s not clear what any of it means. Loquacity is no crime, but Fiery Furnaces are trying too hard to be clever. Not much is going on in the music, either, as they switch clumsily back and forth between raucous guitars and tinkling pianos. There’s plenty in the way of ambition on Widow City, but little substance to back it up.

Fiery Furnaces + MGMT + Michael Goodman and the Mike | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston | December 10 | 617.566.9014
Related: Antic Digression Disorder, Stop making sense, The Fiery Furnaces, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger, FIERY FURNACES
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