The Fiery Furnaces – Gallowsbird’s Bark

ARTIST: The Fiery Furnaces220px-Gallowsbirds_Bark_album_cover
TITLE: Gallowsbird’s Bark
YEAR RELEASED: 2002
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Crystal Clear, Tropical Ice-Land
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: This music only gets on The Current (MN) or KEXP (Seattle) or other such stations.
LINEUP: Eleanor Friedberger, Matthew Friedberger, Ryan Sawyer
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Brother sister duo (with a hired drummer) construct an album of odd, off-kilter songs that borrow from post-punk, grunge, electronica, and Lord knows what else. It works!

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Fiery Furnaces are at times too obtuse even for their fans. In this first album, though, they are pretty straight forward in their skewed musical universe.

Eleanor’s vocals and interesting (yeah, that’s the word) lyrics fit right over Matthew’s inventive, challenging and unique arrangements. A song like “Don’t Dance Her Down” has elements of funk, electro-pop and soul all blended together with a disjointed guitar.

“Two Fat Feet” was the song that turned me onto the Fiery Furnaces as anything more than just a weird novelty. The guitar in that song is strong, and the rhythm section chugs along (ok, Matthew mostly chugging along with himself). Then, there’s this piano that sounds like a nursery school piano!

NOTES & MINUTAE: “Don’t Dance Her Down” is loosely adapted from “Big Jim’s in Town”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A-: I love challenging music that’s also memorable. This fits that description.

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