The Fiery Furnaces, I’m Going Away

The Fiery Furnaces, I'm Going Away

The Fiery Furnaces’s eighth album, I’m Going Away, is their rock album — it’s much more linear and stripped down than their previous records, with much less of the crazily proggy stuff. The record is for those people who wish they’d cut out that wanky prog stuff and just rock. It also has some of their indelible melodies they’ve written.

While the melodies are more straighforward, though, this album still has the Furnaces’ trademark whimsical chaos. They still come up with plenty of strange riffs and breaks, interspersed throughout the songs. “Drive To Dallas,” for example, starts as a slower ballad with a bombastic thrash-math style bridge which progressively subsumes the rest of the song, but there are also a number of songs on the album like “The End Is Near,” which is a completely normal song with none of their weird prog stuff — completely quiet and mellow, with a big epic rock solo in the middle, but even that solo is all straightforward rock guitar lines. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. (Which, for them, is extremely strange.)

Again, the thing that’s most different on I’m Going Away is the shift towards big, simple, catchy melodies. Most of their other records have featured casually-atonal melodies, but the melodies on this album are their most striking yet. “Take Me Round Again” is one of the best songs here, a big chugging piano/keyboard epic with a big anthemic chorus, the kind of song you could imagine on the radio in the ’70s. Rarely have the Furnaces written songs that have been this purely pleasurable. “Even In The Rain” has a similarly gorgeous melody, with another strong chorus and cool call-and-response instrumental parts.

The Fiery Furnaces continue to get a lot of ground out of their sound. You don’t really think about it, because their sound is so distinctive and odd, you sort of expect all the albums to be weird in the same way. But each of their albums has its own character, and I’m Going Away is no exception. Most “weird” bands that find a sound try to milk it for everything they can, or if they try to do something different, they fail utterly. It says something about Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger’s writing that they have so many different ideas for sounds and songs and yet can make everything work well. They’ve chosen a much harder course than a lot of their contemporaries, but it clearly rewards them, too.

[The Fiery Furnaces are playing 1/29/10 at Walter's, along with Drug Rug.]
(Thrill Jockey Records -- P.O. Box 08038, Chicago, IL. 60608; http://www.thrilljockey.com/; The Fiery Furnaces -- http://www.thefieryfurnaces.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, January 29th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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