The Fiery Furnances- Widow CityDecember 15, 2007
The Fiery Furnaces
October 9th 2007
Every song on The Fiery Furnaces newest album Widow City is comprised of 45 second snippets of 15 other unpublished Fiery Furnace songs written while flipping between The History Channel and Oxygen. Widow City is a postmodern theater orchestration that can be tedious and exhausting to absorb. Even after the 5th play the record still refuses to present itself as a decent, listenable work. Just when every music loving bone in your body demands that you scrub your hard-drive, smash the disc, and write your senator emphatically instructing her to introduce legislation that would severely damage the First Amendment for all things objectionable and offensive, Widow City suddenly produces what appears to be an amazing 70’s era rock track. It is complex and groovy, imaginative and original, until Eleanor Friedberger switches gears and dribbles out a trite monologue about fuck all, which is then followed by a medley of creative malformations punctuated by boring drum solos.
The Fiery Furnaces want a restorative beer to take their mind off their tears. How great is that…a restorative beer…for their tears. I am reminded of late night channel surfing…while listening to Pippen. Other bands such as The Renfields have a similar style, but succeed where Widow City does not. It is not a matter of accessibility, but rather a matter of sensibility. The Friedbergers have in the past done their work well, but this record is an experiment gone awry. This is not to say that the actual music composed for Widow City isn’t excellent. The parts in themselves are compelling and truly solid. It is when they are assembled that one contemplates murder in the first degree. Philadelphia Grand Jury is a great track and Duplexes of the Dead follows suit. They aren’t exactly cohesive, but at least they function. It is with Automatic Husband that Widow City descends into furthest depths of schizophrenia, occasionally resurfacing for air, but then leading the listener deeper into futility. In short, the abilities of this outfit are to be commended, but the near complete lack of message or purpose in Widow City makes me regret making the purchase.
Gallowsbird’s Bark- 2003
Blueberry Boat- 2004
Rehearsing My Choir- 2005
Bitter Tea- 2006