The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat
Mike Mantin 06/09/2004
Anyone who found the Furnaces' 2003 debut Gallowsbird's Bark "a bit weird" should stop reading now. Go buy the Keane album or something, because their status as kookiest duo in NYC is really flaunted on this barking follow-up. Banishing straight-forward pop songs until the final quarter, most of Blueberry Boat's 13 tracks clock in at well over the 5 minute mark, so the disc is crammed. Luckily, Eleanor and Matt Friedberger manage to retain at least some quality control amidst the madness: if there's something you think you've heard before, a wave of electronics or total key change will prove you wrong. Eleanor's vocals remain distinctive, while Matt- who got a part as Boring Backing Singer #1 on one track on Gallowsbird's Bark- gets more mentions. Together, they're a likeably warped pair.
Over 7 minutes, standout Chris Michaels twists and turns through numerous melodies and a continuous narrative. Tracks are often out of time with nonsensical and sometimes immature lyrics (see indie nursery rhyme My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found). They can do it wrong, however, as the unlistenable title track shows. These jams with attention deficit disorder really aren't for the faint-hearted. But, while Blueberry Boat is nowhere near as easy to make friends with as their thrilling debut or string of singles, sticking with it will uncover incredible rewards within the tangled noise. Get familiar with their bizarre lyrics and more-than-unconventional song structures, and it'll never leave your stereo.