Somehow, bands with brother-sister duos always pique my interest. Perhaps it's because I'm part of a brother-sister duo myself. There seems to be something unique, almost magical about siblings making music together. The Fiery Furnaces' latest album "Blueberry Boat affirms my faith in brother-sister musical combinations.
This album is like an amusement park gone awry, eerie but entertaining, charming and a bit creepy too. Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger manage to keep everything unpredictable – tempos fluctuate wildly, bluesy guitars meet spooky organs, 1980s-style synthesizers pair neatly with handclaps and shimmery cymbals.
Many of the songs clock in at well over five minutes, but in all honesty, you won't notice. You'll be too caught up in your curiosity as to where the song will go. Eleanor's vocals lure you along with sing-songy androgyny, matched well (of course! they're siblings!) with her brother Matthew's boyish tongue twisters. The Friedbergers' lyrics will astound you with tales of pirate hijackings, taco lunches, Dexedrine, and dressing gowns.
I especially loved "Straight Street" — swirls of twangy slide guitar combined with an incessant rhythmic piano set the tone, with leisurely electric guitar choruses interspersed throughout. "Bird Brain" bounces along in a haunted way, with Matthew and Eleanor taking turns as ringmasters of this musical circus.
This album has something for every mood — from sunny to sinister and everything in between. If you're up for the unexpected, my recommendation is to get on the Blueberry Boat.