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Widow City (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

On Widow City, the fifth album from Fiery Furnaces, siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedburger settle into their art-pop niche with ease and confidence, avoiding the everything-AND-the-kitchen-sink approach that has overwhelmed some of their prior efforts. Matthew makes the music here (except drums, skillfully played by Robert D’Amico, who creates an assertive percussive backbone with the same playful, kinetic energy as his counterparts), and Eleanor handles virtually all the vocals. Inspired on this outing by ‘70s album rock (big guitars, operatic arrangements, shifting tempos, hints of bombast) and by themes from media and advertising specifically aimed at women in the 1970s (really, we’re not kidding), Widow City is a carefully crafted artwork that digresses as little as one imagines the duo is able to manage. The lengthy opener is a fine example of how they build a song with countless pieces and parts to create a cohesive whole: a verbal narrative gives way suddenly to emotional opining; loping and unadorned piano and organ nudges up against spastic, fuzzy guitars; clean and spare percussion morphs into a military backbeat, and so forth. Think of the album as a theater piece, each song as an act, and while reading the program notes (er, press release) at intermission, you’ll chuckle over the bands’ attempt to explain their work: “The synthesizer filtering of the acoustic guitar in ‘Duplexes of the Dead’ indicates the odd light that filters through the dirty curtains a duplex of the dead would no doubt have.”

Customer Reviews

ok ok ok ok

id like to give this 5 stars just to right the 1 star review, but ill try and be honest here. i like the fiery furnaces. i like that they try and do something different everytime and that they are ok with failing, as long as its a genuine effort. i would much rather see that, than see pandering, dumbing down, or false accessibility. this is better than the last two records, but not as good as the first two... or the ep. whats great about it is that it gives me hope that the next album is going to be amazing. not to say this isnt good. it is good, but im ready to be amazed again.


Pay no attention to the reviews that claim this is "not music." They are uneducated in the ways of clever composition and writing. Yes it's difficult, and challenging but that's the point and in that way treasures slowly unravel from the genius that is the Friedberger siblings.

Love it! But don't buy it from itunes!

I bought Widow City from itunes and I regret doing so. Not becuase I don't love the music! But Widow CIty is almost like one long song, or series of songs woven together. The recording engineer put the track breaks about 10 seconds after each "song" transition. This is where, of course, the ipod automatically puts an artifical gap between songs. This means that just as each "song" starts to groove, the ipod adds a gap beacuse that's where the track change is. The only solution I can see it to purchase the CD and joint the tracks when importing into itunes, thus making one super long "song" for the ipod.


Formed: 2000 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Restless sonic chameleons the Fiery Furnaces revolve around the brother and sister duo of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger, whose prickly childhood relationship and musical family set the stage for their playful, unpredictable music. The Friedbergers' grandmother was a musician and choir director at a Greek Orthodox church near the family's home in Oak Park, IL; their mother, who had a penchant for Gilbert & Sullivan, played piano and guitar and sang; and throughout school, Matthew played standup...
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