The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
The Fiery Furnaces
Widow City (Thrill Jockey, 2007)
Download: The Fiery Furnaces - "Duplexes Of The Dead"
Download: The Fiery Furnaces - "My Egyptian Grammar"
If each one of The Fiery Furnaces recordings evoke a different time period, both through narrative (Rehearsing My Choir, Blueberry Boat) or actual music (Gallowsbird Peak then Widow City is their most riff-oriented, Led Zepplin-influenced 70s rock album. Like the best Fiery Furnaces albums, City has abrupt changes in meter, cryptic song narratives and enough melody to prevent the listener from becoming impatient. Unlike their last two efforts, the attention is now more on the songwriting and less on how avant-garde the musical and narrative detours can be (though there are plenty of those, this being The Fiery Furnaces and everything).
Maybe that's the result of the siblings divvying up the tasks so that Eleanor Friedberger only did the singing and Matthew Friedberger played all the instruments. Or maybe its being on a new label. Whatever the reason, this renewed focus shows itself on warm, guitar-heavy tracks such as album opener "The Philadelphia Grand Jury" and "My Egyptian Grammar" (which borrows heavily from the Furnaces' own "Evergreen"). Though there are clumsy moments on Widow City, the album's greater emphasis on melodiousness is what makes the record more listenable than its two predecessors.
The Fiery Furances play tonight at the Turf Club for a 21+ show. Doors open at 8:00 p.m.