Fiery Furnaces are one of the bands that I attribute to assisting in my transformation from teenager-who-listened-to-major-label-but-pretty-enjoyable-rock-music (see the White Strokes, the Strokes, the Flaming Lips, Sloan, etc), to kid-who-still-appreciates-rock-but-likes-“freakier”-shit-too. I guess a lot of that transformation took place around 2003/2004. With albums (via Compact Disc) by Fiery Furnaces, Deerhoof, the Unicorns, Animal Collective, etc. making their way into my into my collection, I really started to change my perspective on music, and “my horizons broadened” (I also could finally said that I “got” Radiohead… the brilliance of OK Computer, Kid A, and Amnesiac had to some degree alluded me previously, although those albums themselves played a big role in my transformation).
Fiery Furnaces’ Blueberry Boat received A LOT of play time in my boom box and truck stereo — I had no idea at the time that Pitchfork had 9.6’d it — and my friends thought I was insane for listening to it (plenty of them still do, and none of them like the Unicorns, WTF?).
Fiery Furnaces went on to make that excellent EP, and then took a couple experimental-ish missteps, and had a couple lackluster performances during the following years; which brings me to today: a brand new Fiery Furnaces single called “The End Is Near” — from the album the record label has described as “70s sunshine-glazed piano pop, filled with cascading note slides, head-nodding grooves”(?).
“The End Is Near” is arguably the most “normal” and “straightforward” song the Fiery Furnaces have ever released; it doesn’t even freak-out or anything. Disappointing? Actually, not really. While I love the spastic nature of FF, this song — however plain — is perfectly charming, and has not been wearing thin whilst on repeat. If the Fiery Furnaces next album is along these lines, and consistent, it’ll probably receive a lot of play time in my headphones. I certainly won’t be playing it during my Blueberry Boat mood, but it might get played during my Camera Obscura mood, or something like that.
While devote freaky-Furnaces-fans might have something to be sad about here, I’m convinced that the bands’ musical range/skills (or “chops,” as literary critics would say) will — or at least should — allow some of their new-musical-territory-experiments to be successful… I mean their due for a success, right? Hopefully I’m Going Away is more than satisfying, and hopefully the end of the Furnaces is no where near near (I suppose they do have at least 3 more albums in the works).
Oh, and also, this MP3’s “Genre” came tagged as “Unclassifiable”!