The Fiery Furnaces – Charmaine Champagne

by MV


The Fiery Furnaces are probably (definitely?) my favourite alternative pop band (albums band, dare I say?) of the last decade. On record, they can pretty much do no wrong by me. You could never say they weren’t interesting – whether it be dallying around with time signatures or throwing the odd grandma into the mix.

But obviously it’s not weirdness for the sake of weirdness that makes me love the Friedbergers. That’s not really my thing. It’s what’s created when the often patience-testing minutes of noise/backward loops/grandma monologues are suddenly sidelined, mid-flow, and replaced by a something simple, beautiful, and above all very ‘pop’. That works me. As do the purposefully vague lyrics (I toyed with using the word cryptic there – but that’s not what it’s about – they’re not puzzles to be figured out, rather sounds/ideas to be enjoyed).

Anyway, enough with the essaying and back into the moment. The Fiery Furnaces’ contribution to 2009 is I’m Going Away, their seventh album, and one that marks a bit of a shift in style. A record expressly influenced by 70s pseudo-jazzy soft rock/ US TV Theme tunes (think Taxi and you’re basically there), it’s more straightforward than anything they’ve done in a long time.

Now the Fiery Furnaces can do simple, without the need for the tension/release nonsense described above [video evidence], but over an album it becomes tiring, and you yearn for a bit of random noise. It’s all very pleasant, y’know?

Anyhow, my initial disappointment has passed and I’m now OK with it all. (PHEW) Thankfully straightforward pop songs work best in isolation (hence this blog), so there’s none of that trauma on display here, merely a fizzy little ditty with a tumbling, tricksy chorus and a characteristically awful video. Enjoy.