It seems like a lifetime ago that the Fiery Furnaces were positioned to be the next big thing in indie, at least in terms of critical acclaim. A few hard-to-digest experimental moves later and the band was on hiatus. The sibling duo went their separate ways, and Eleanor in particular seems to be the more active branch of the Fiery Furnace tree. ‘
We’ve heard from her a few times since those days, but it’s worth remembering whenever she has a new album out. The Fiery Furnaces were an enigmatic, highly conceptual and, for lack of a better word, difficult. There were songs like “Single Again,” which was discomforting sonically and thematically, and “Blueberry Boat,” a mutilated song that really fucked me up in college. The madness of those songs is key to my enjoyment of Eleanor Friedberger’s solo career. It’s a tremendous relief to just hear her do pleasant singer-songwriter stuff. Some residual paranoia keeps me expecting the other shoe to drop and the song to turn into a nightmare, but it hasn’t come yet. It’s just purely pleasant.
Her newest, New View, is available now via Frenchkiss Records.