Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Top 100 of the Decade: #97 Fiery Furnaces 'Here Comes the Summer'

(Yes, the attached you tube video plays the album track of “Here Comes The Summer” along with some random person’s home video of their kids. Strangely, it works.)

“October damp on down the street: remember?
The sodden leaves stuck to your feet: remember?
You knew it wouldn’t be too soon; we’ll have to wait until its June.
I’ve been waiting since I don’t know when and now it finally seems about to start.
I swear, I swear, that I will do my part.”

The Furnaces’ spiraling, open-ended, organ-driven sound is not everybody’s cup of tea, but for those that grasp it, it really hits as a band that can incorporate a timeless song and melody and stretch it out to become something different and captivating. It’s not experimental in a noise-rock sense, but their whole approach is slightly off-kilter and it keeps the songs really fresh. Think of this as experimental in the same way that Wilco expanded their sound on “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” -- I guess that’s not much of a far-off comparison, as this duo did opened for Wilco on their “A Ghost is Born” tour.

Anyway, “Here Comes The Summer” is a song that just has a really nice feel to it, one that fits the lyrics perfectly. It is off of their B-Sides compilation, strangely called “EP”, despite its 10 songs. This album was a huge revelation to me when my friend burned it for me, along with Van Halen’s “1984”. I love this album (EP, not 1984), and though I am far from a Friedberger family historian, I think this is their best and most listenable record and I guess that’s no coincidence, as some of these songs are poppier takes on more experimental album tracks. (That sounds backwards, but that’s how it is). “Tropical Ice-Land” blows away the “Gallowsbird” version, for instance.

It’s strange that the EP is basically a compilation, because it plays through so seamlessly. “Single Again” is a fractured tale of death and betrayal, but I always loved the line “when I was single, my pockets did jingle, oh I wish I was single again”. When the song breaks out, it is exactly the same as when Wilco’s “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” breaks out of the electronic trance and into the big guitar riff. Coincidence? “Evergreen” might be my second favorite Furnaces song, with a bunch of lines that grab me, like this one: “I was wielding my axe, drunk whisky at the bar. Every night coming home, out the windshield of my car, I would look through the boughs and think I saw my lucky star.” And the closer, “Sullivan’s Social Slub” is the recipient of the prestigious TAGTOE alliteration award. Not a small thing.

Lastly, Eleanor Friedberger is a great name.

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