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The Fiery Furnaces - EP

Review: Jack Foley

HOT-on-the-heels of their adventurous Blueberry Boat long-player, The Fiery Furnaces have decided to unleash a compilation album, rather confusingly titled EP.

As you might expect from the quirky minds of Matt And Eleanor Friedberger, it is an oddball collecction of tracks previously released as singles (both A and B
sides) plus a couple of new, previously unreleased songs, including Here Comes The Summer.

The common factor with the tracks is that none have previously been on either of the two Fiery Furnaces' LPs to date.

Billed as 'the other side' of The Fiery Furnaces, the compilation is designed to 'vividly show their more immediate and poppy side', but remains as quirky and borderline annoying as most of their previous long-players.

Kicking off with the edgy Single Again, a kooky lament about a wife-beating husband ('he beat me, he banged me, he swore he would hang me, I wish I was single again'), the album sets about trying to deliver The Fiery Furnaces' charms in an upbeat, quasi-mainstream way.

And there's no denying the pop-factor in many of the tracks, which could well have you bouncing around the living room.

But there is also something distancing about their style that occasionally grates - as though it is trying to be too experimental for its own good.

A track such as Here Comes The Summer isn't really summery enough, while Sullivan's Social Slub comes across as borderline pretentious and seems to go on forever.

When it's good, however, the EP does deliver some gems - none more so than the deliriously chirpy Tropical Iceland, which seems to have overdosed on happy pills.

Fans should lap it up, although whether it will reach beyond their grasp and into the hands of new listeners remains to be seen.

Editor's note: There's more good news for Fiery Furnaces fans, in that Matt and Eleanor are currently working on their next album, which they are recording with their grandmother in Chicago.

The album will feature Eleanor and her grandmother singing duets juxtaposing a young woman’s point of view with that of the elder woman.

Track listing:
1. Single Again
2. Here Comes The Summer
3. Evergreen
4. Sing For Me
5. Tropical-Iceland
6. Duffer St George
7. Smelling Cigarettes
8. Cousin Chris
9. Sweet Spots
10. Sullivans Social Slub

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