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The Fiery Furnaces: EP


The Fiery Furnaces: EP

Label:Rough Trade
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2005
Genre:Rock/Pop

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 1/19/2005

Christened about as literally (and cheekily) as Sebadoh’s 4 Song CD or Autechre’s EP7, EP is a late Christmas gift from the Fiery Furnaces to their fans—a 40-minute roundup of nonalbum dementia (U.K.-only singles, associated B-sides, and unheard tracks) the NYC-by-way-of-Chicago brother-sister duo has generated thus far. The wily willy-nilly is by now to be expected from Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger, but here that fun-house feel is amplified because these songs weren’t written as a set. “Cousin Chris” swings in a stagger, its hornlike keyboards and muffled drums as wobbly as a high-school marching band at the end of a 30-mile trudge, with alliterative nonsense to match: “T’ord ta tippy top Tommy tongue-tied talked/ Tricked Trish ta trance which church chit-chat/ Nana nots no know/ so down the firehouse we go.” “Evergreen” is surprisingly sticky—a piano ’n’ synth sloucher wherein Eleanor gamely Hemingways toward a date with a sprig of hemlock, in measured pace with a rough duct-tape-being-torn-from-a-surface effect. “Sing to Me,” a disarmingly touching tone-gram from a seafaring father to his daughter, folds clouds of pixie-dust ivory into blithe guitar jangle. Only the serendipitous “Smelling Cigarettes” approaches the Byzantine song-suites of last year’s Blueberry Boat: a series of jaunty, multispeed musical bits yoked to a Jerry Springer-lite tale of two soused neighbors whose feet are run over, at different times, by billboard trucks. It’s over too soon, of course, inspiring salivation not just for the Furnaces’ upcoming double CD but also for the gleeful pop abandon they’ll have to temporarily shelve.

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