The Fiery Furnaces
I'm Going Away


3.5
great

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
July 21st, 2009 | 17 replies | 8,536 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Meet the new Fiery Furnaces.

With 2007’s Widow City, it seemed that the Fiery Furnaces had finally gotten as normal as they could get. It was, finally, an album that didn’t signify a major change in direction and musical stylings for this brother-sister duo: it seemed that Matthew Friedberger, who composes all the music for the band, had finally let his ambitions waver a bit. Despite this, and despite Eleanor Friedberger again delivering another excellent performance, Widow City ultimately was a minor disappointment: it was way too long and had basically no focus. Fans (or at least this one) yearned for a return to the classic days of complexity.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m Going Away is the band’s poppiest and most accessible work to date: the Fiery Furnaces were never one to conform and do whatever seemed right, and, despite whatever derision Widow City received, the streamlined direction of this newest work is looking more and more like the best idea the band’s ever had. For one, the album’s excellent: these Brooklyn natives finally seem to be able to self-edit, and the songs here are free of all those complicated ideas that made the band’s previous albums so hard to get into; all that’s left is just the breezy, highly listenable melodic stuff. But leaving behind all the experimentation reveals a surprisingly pure and gimmick-free sound, one that doesn’t get lost in its own pretentions.

Despite its accessibility, I’m Going Away never feels like the Fiery Furnaces are half-assing it for a wider fanbase. Instead, the album works like a gateway drug, introducing first-time listeners to the band’s quirks, and getting them prepared for their stranger material. For instance, there’s no better way to get used to Eleanor’s sprightly and near-pretentious lyrics---which are often delivered at an auctioneer’s pace---than to listen to “Keep Me in the Dark” or “Staring at the Steeple”, which feature her weird talents at their most irresistible. Each are also perfect summarizations of this new, more melodic Fiery Furnaces, filled with bluesy vocals, twinkly piano lines, distorted, Stones-light (Diet Stones?) riffs, and warm, sunny production: basically the perfect fodder for your newest summer mixtape.

That isn’t the extent of the highlights here, however: “Charmaine Champagne” is another of the band’s more accessible tracks, enjoyable from Matthew’s talk-box riffing to Eleanor’s energetic vocals and clever lyrics, describing the titular character as the type of bad girl that’s going to get her “folked up and fairly beat”. In normal person speak, that presumably means totally fucked up. “Cut the Cake” follows that raucous number appropriately; the smooth, soulful piano ballad acting as the woozy morning after. “Take Me Round Again” is notable for balancing these two sounds, transitioning from yearning, sobered verses to the more strident choruses, and the song’s more unconventional structure---choruses and verses duck in and out, and a sparse, minute-long guitar solo from Matt counts as one of the stranger sections on the album---harkens back to the Blueberry Boat days, and also works as an excellent closer.

In short, I’m Going Away finds the band embellishing on their debut, the criminally underrated Gallowsbird’s Bark, which also found the band at their most melodic. But while that album got lost in the shuffle of neo-garage bands that were coming out of New York---possibly due to its more abrasive manner---I’m Going Away will not be so easily forgotten: its blend of ornate indie pop, the jazzy blues of albums like In the Wee Small Hours, and the classic sounds of the Rolling Stones and Hendrix is something distinctive, and is something that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.



Recent reviews by this author
Beach Fossils Clash the TruthBuke and Gase General Dome
Beach House BloomSun Kil Moon Among the Leaves
ASAP Rocky Live.Love.A$AP.Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm with You
user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
July 21st 2009



3743 Comments


i've been battling on whether to give this a 3.5 or a 4, settled on 3.5 for now but another listen to this might change that

but yeah album's great

gaslightanthem
July 21st 2009



5209 Comments


didn't know these guys had a new album coming out D :

essplode
July 21st 2009



92 Comments


i was on the fence about getting this but i'm sold. excellent work. really came around to widow city, different albums for different moods i'd say.

AggravatedYeti
July 21st 2009



7684 Comments


I heard some of this recently and it wasn't bad. Worlds better than anything off 'Blueberry Boat' or 'Gallowbird's Bark' imo. Good review, I'm interested.

PuddlesPuddles
July 21st 2009



4767 Comments


This is pretty great
Awesome

essplode
July 21st 2009



92 Comments


yeti you're crazy

foreverendeared
July 22nd 2009



14678 Comments


blueberry boat is a really good album, i should check this out.

mvdu
July 22nd 2009



599 Comments


Well, they've drawn in people like me. Before I found them inaccessible, but I like most of this CD.

AggravatedYeti
July 22nd 2009



7684 Comments


could be...

WatchItExplode
July 22nd 2009



3207 Comments


I only have 'Bitter Tea' which is equally abrasive and engaging. This sounds much more interesting.

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is awesome, so is review

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 1st 2009



3743 Comments


so this didn't get as much attention as i hoped

also i missed your comments lew but thanks and i think you'd really like this

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2009



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album really needs more press

"drive to dallas" is so fucking good

rubybliels
November 10th 2009



67 Comments


The reviews on the Fiery Furnaces site are so much better than this one.


http://www.thefieryfurnaces.com/site/

cbmartinez
December 18th 2009



2525 Comments


yo good work, i wrote some of my thoughts on the album on my blog but to summarize, i really like this album because they finally took a focused, concise approach to pop song writing. Don't get me wrong, I love Blueberry Boat, it's probably their best album because of how ambitious and out there it is. But to me, they never really the balance they had on blueberry again. widow city is good but most of their other albums tend to be tedious and overbearing. on this one, they really trimmed the fat and while it might not be as ambitious and weird, it's really listenable and has some of their catchiest work in a while.

http://woosamonsaroad.blogspot.com/2009/12/fiery-furnaces-im-going-away-2009.html

robin
Emeritus
January 23rd 2010



4241 Comments


this is borderline perfection

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2010



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

bit late there robin



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy