Stop making sense

By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  June 8, 2009

Totally. I think. Although one listen to their newest, I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey), and you can see the Friedbergers trying to make their musical reconnaissance resonate with the outside world. Maybe it's because this time the siblings got their musical inspiration from television themesongs of the '70s (see "Variations on a Theme"), or maybe it's just a desire to atone for the byzantine obstinacy of last year's Remember (Thrill Jockey), their first live album, a two-disc set so chopped and screwed that the liner notes actually warn, "Please do not attempt to listen to all at once." "I'm Going Away" is a jaunty piano pop ditty, and one of the more inviting and unintimidating Fiery Furnaces album openers; it isn't until the next track, "Drive to Dallas," that things get more convoluted, its mix of melancholic chord pop and bracing scuzz rock creating an epic sweep.

In the same way that every family eventually understands its own dysfunction, Matt can see how his band's siblinghood makes them stand out in a sea of bands made up of casual acquaintances. "We think the family thing affects our atmosphere, spirit, vibe — because we're siblings and we see each other in that light, we don't have the same kind of exciting, cool esprit de cœur that a group of friends might have. You don't try to remake yourself with your sibling — to remake yourself, you don't include your family. We're siblings who, at a certain point, decided to be friends. So we don't have that same kind of purpose that other bands have — you know, follow us and get a mohawk and leave your family behind. I don't think many people are fans of our band because of lifestyle associations.

"Does that make any sense?"

FIERY FURNACES + HALLELUJAH THE HILLS + BODEGA GIRLS | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | June 12 at 9 pm | $12 | 617.864.EAST

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  Topics: Music Features , The Fiery Furnaces, James Brownian, Matthew Friedberger,  More more >
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