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September 20, 2004

{     The Fiery Furnaces Blueberry Boat     }    

_Blueberry Boat_ sounds like it might be a concept album, what with the consistent piano-laden musical stylings and the half-sung, half-spoken narrative lyrics. It isn't though, not precisely anyway. _Blueberry Boat_ is a collection of 13 stories, musically presented. Childlike, but not childish, the songs from _Blueberry Boat_ have a sense of wonderment and possibility undimmed by adult cynicism. Gleefully infectious, but nigh-impossible to sing along with while stuck in traffic. A clerk at the record store in which I purchased this album had pasted a sticker on the cover claiming it sounded like a "cast recording from a strange off-Broadway show," though in interviews The Fiery Furnaces quickly cite The Who's _Rael_ and _A Quick One While He's Away_ as their biggest influences. _Blueberry Boat_ is infused with the sort of goofy rock spirit that all but vanished some years ago. Previous albums apparently sounded much more rock than this one, which has caused a substantial level of controversy amongst critics and fans. The Fiery Furnaces' Matt and Eleanor Friedberger (real-life brother and sister, unlike all those false siblings in music) undoubtedly welcome those arguments, as they've expressed frustration with the current climate of expectation that each of a given band's releases do its best to coddle to the scene that supported them with nigh-identical sounds. _Blueberry Boat_ is a whimsical ride, awash with shifting tempos, unidentifiable instrumentation, and the occasional pirate. I like it.

     » Released by Rough Trade
     » The Fiery Furnaces official site

     » Buy it...

Comments

Nice! I had a tough time with this one due to the super-high expectations upon it by Pitchfork and the like, but after a few spins I've gotta say that in an age of singles, this really is a great album to have in your collection...

Posted by: Shane at September 21, 2004 7:45 AM

It came as something of a shock to me to find so much press about this album when I started looking around for info. I'm not all that good at keeping up with reviews. I guess I'm a prime target for viral marketing (particularly as described in the William Gibson novel _Pattern Recognition_) as word of mouth makes me buy way more than anything I read. The band was mentioned to me, I was in the record store and rather than whittling down the incredibly long list of albums I know I need decided to get something new, and snagged this.

I can definitely see how people could really _not_ dig this, but all the same I can't seem to get it out of my car stereo.

Posted by: benjamin at September 21, 2004 6:08 PM

I'm surprised Pitchfork liked it- they're notoriously snobby and elitist, while at the same time prone to the "we want something just like the last album, only different" attitude Benjamin points out in the body of his review.

Posted by: Adam at September 22, 2004 11:18 PM
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