SOUNDS LIKE: Sun drenched pop; EP-era Fiery Furnaces
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because this is what you want to listen to this summer...and because you can see her live tonight!
As one half of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger (along with her brother Matthew), trafficked in a unique brand of cerebral art-pop in which 10-minute songs about old ships and entire albums incorporating narration from the duo's grandmother were the de rigeur. Even when they released more traditional pop (see EP),the songs were frequently opaque or drenched in irony, encouraging analysis over emotional response. However, since striking out on her own with 2011's Last Summer, Eleanor has followed a different path, peeling away the layers of complexity to reveal at last the emotions which were only hinted at in most of the Furnaces catalog (author's note: I love the Fiery Furnaces and I hope their hiatus is not permanent).
"Cause when I'm with you, everything's treasure
I forget what its like to be gone
I'm far from the town, in the suburbs of your pleasure
I've been in exile so long"
Lyrics like that would have had no place in Ms. Friedberger's old work but they and their ilk form the bulk of her new album, the tellingly titled Personal Record. In the hands of another artist, sentiments of this sort, delivered so directly could (and have) come across as trite...but on this record they just sound true.
Eleanor Friedberger plays at U St.. Music Hall tonight. Tickets are still available.