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Monday, September 7, 2009


  • The Fiery Furnaces in general...
  • Universal Health Care
  • Pandora
  • Funny People
  • The Time Traveler's Wife
  • (500 Days) of Summer
  • The Jackson 5
  • The constructs of family (continued)
  • Generational Gaps
  • Black Christmas (the orig.)
  • Unbreakable
  • The Hazards of Love
  • Disney Factory
  • The State of Horror
  • I want to do something..
It seems rather daunting, thinking about posting 15 straight posts, but I want to get them out there either way, so I'll do my best tonight. Forgive me now if I seem to rush through some of the topics, but if any of them catch as a conversation starter, we can always go back to them, can't we?

So the Fiery, what a concept. In a few months, as I believe I mentioned in my previous post regarding their latest album, I'm Going Away, they are re-releasing the album...twice...with the two permanent members taking control of six tracks each on each version as oppose to collaborating, giving the songs new life in a different personality. This is an interesting approach to music, and really, any kind of art to see any piece to be an unfinished work...a building is called a building and not a built because it's in progress, it adapts to those who need it. Music adapts to the listener and over time, a music's message can change - this is true for the band too. Constantly evolving is one of the things I love about this band.

They also recently announced that they will release a 'silent record' which will, in fact, be sheet music. They will then tour and watch the fans play the album. What better way to prove my previous point that this is a band for evolution!

They came out around the time of the White Stripes' big break and were regularly grouped with them for some common threads...the whole brother/sister thing (although these are a real brother/sister combo), the blues-rock roots, the garage was big at the time. That was as they released Gallowbird's Bark, a brilliant piece of two minute rockers which merely hinted at the future. Songs like "Inca Rag/Name Game" and the final three songs.

Which brings me to the bomb that was Blueberry Boat. The first track is ten minutes, sprawling several different styles and genres, a couple of lines in a gibberish language. The album clocked in just shy of the eighty minute limit and it's a masterpiece. It's intimidating just to try to write about it, so I'll just put it out - listen and be blown away. Prepare to listen a couple of times though, because it isn't something that you'll get right away.

Then they released EP, a collection of singles to compliment the long format of most of the songs on Blueberry Boat, three minute pop hooks that really show off the band's knack for songwriting. It stayed with the theme though, of quirky and witty lyrics mixed with a wide range of sounds and genres making for an unique listening experience. This is the only album they've put out that isn't an album listen, as in, best when listened to together in a single sitting.

Next came Rehearsing My Choir, the mostly definitively split album to date, recorded with their grandmother of all people, it is the retelling of a life filled with love, heartbreak and a lot of youthful exuberance. It makes use of heavy classical orchestration, but with modern instrumentation (mostly keyboards and synths), as the story jumps and weaves from time period to time period, story to story. The best elements of the album come in the subtle musical clues, namely the use of several melodies, mostly prominently the 'memory melody' indicating that the narrator, whether it be Olga (the grandmother) or Eleanor (the younger version), is remembering something.

They followed that with it's companion piece, Bitter Tea, a more pop oriented album which looked wide-eyed and innocently towards the future. It was supposed to be the youthful look at life, love and adventure to give the opposite perspective from that on Rehearsing My Choir. The extensive use of backwards lyrics as counter melodies, complex keyboard parts put off some listeners, but the return of the pop hook returned to the FF domain as they produced some of their most immediate songs to date, not to mention my personal favorite (and in my top 80 minutes, "Benton Harbor Blues").

Next came Widow City, a dark and clearly Led Zeppelin-esque album with no real theme or direction. This wasn't a misstep for the band by any means, as a matter of fact, it was probably their most straight forward album to date. It featured long instrumental songs, or at least, songs built on few lyrics with long and complex musical bridges. This is when the band's musical technique came to the forefront and they began experimenting with the talents they had just with their fingers and guitars, or keyboards, or synths. It's a very loud record with few pop hooks but tons of great riffs.

Finally they released Remember last year which is a live album, of sort, although it's probably the least live, live album ever. Piece together from parts of a nationwide concert, it was then edited. It's the most overwhelming thing they've ever done, just in terms of pure soundscape variety.

Then came the aforementioned I'm Going Away which I already reviewed for you in my previous post. Expect full reviews when I get to them in my album reviews...eventually.

How many more can I do tonight? I don't think 14... We'll see. Later.

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