The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade Records 06/09/04) - Album Review

The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade Records 06/09/04)- Album Review

The Fiery Furnaces
Blueberry Boat
(Rough Trade Records 06/09/04)

The Chicago born Friederberger siblings Matt & Eleanor make a swift return in an attempt to follow on from the success of last year’s spellbinding bluesy rock debut album; 'Gallowbirds Bark'.. This follow up featuring thirteen throbbing tracks kicks off with a ten minute teaser ‘Quay Cur’, whereby Matt and Eleanor exchange vocal duties as though it was foreign currency. A slow and murky, almost horror film style instrumental build up teases the audience as you wait like a

The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade Records 06/09/04) - Album Review

salivating dog for Eleanor’s crisp Heather Nova mingled with PJ Harvey vocals and, of course, the snappy and quirky lyrics about storms and bad luck. When they arrive you feel like an injured footballer who has just been injected with morphine; boy you needed that. Then Matt’s folk tinged and authoritative vocals get thrown in later on to add variety and spice to the track.

An intriguing feature to The Furnaces’ new material is the fact that most of the tracks are over five minutes long giving the songs depth and diversity, as the full vocal and instrumental range of the Chicago born band is utilized. Rustic keyboards and snappy guitars provide the perfect forum for the sharp and snappy vocals predominantly provided by Eleanor, as she coats the lyrics in such away that the audience can do nothing but devour the eccentricity, simple wisdom and woeful nature of them. A prime example of this can be found in ‘ Straight Street’;

“So I walked up the length of a Street they call Straight cursing my self…..

Cause I got there too late.”

A number of the tracks on this sagacious second album have been extracted from the treasure trove of songs that The Fiery Furnaces have been taking to their live shows for the past year, including scorchers such as ‘Spaniolated’, ‘Chris Michaels’ and my personal favourite about the quest for religious enlightenment; ‘My Dog Was Lost But Now He Is Found’. ‘Blueberry Boat’ is a smoother and slicker offering than previous Furnaces forays into the murky and mundane, but it is still as crisp and compelling.

David Adair

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