I caught this curious indie combo down at Congress last night - the Fiery Furnaces. In one of the rare shows I’ve caught without ever having heard the band, I was neither disappointed or impressed.
All I can say is that somebody needs to reign in this trend of massively hyped NYC indie bands.
This year’s Blueberry Boat got an obscenely high 9.6 rating from the inexplicably pretentious indie reviewers at Pitchforkmedia. That follows an 8.4 for their 2003 album Gallowsbird's Bark.
What I saw was a herky-jerky, methed-out neo vaudeville quartet.
There was the cute-enough lead singer (apparently Eleanor Friedberger) in a hipster feminist retro black dress, the floppy hipster haired bassist and guitarist and a drummer so spastic the Animal comparisons sprung to mind immediately.
All in all though, an unimpressive live band. The barely played for an hour, and didn’t seem to think music needed to be segmented into songs.
It was just this non-stop speed-up/slow-down routine; a few measures of crunchy guitar chords followed by electronic keyboard screeches, repeat.
What words I did catch were intriguing, seeming like a halfway stream of consciousness chant that could only be filled with deep about the hip urban existence.
The melodies were fun, when they existed.
Amazon.com reviewers range from being “spellbound and giddy with pleasure” to saying the band is “even more pretentious than Radiohead; even less musical than Gwar.”
I guess the Fiery Furnaces are a specific, if not acquired, taste.
Then again, I was listening to clean-cut folkie John Stewart, he of the ballad “California Bloodlines,” in my car yesterday, which means I can’t possibly be cool enough to “get” the Fiery Furnaces.
An album would be worth a listen, I’m sure, but even at $6 I don’t reckon I’ll check them out live again.
There’s simply too much else going on, even just this next week in this desert outpost.
Calexico tomorrow, Dan Bern in Flagstaff Saturday, Rilo Kiley Tuesday...