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February 02, 2005

The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat

I can't imagine there are many people who have mixed opinions on this one. Really, it pretty much comes down to where you stand on whether rock songs ought to be able to have movements -- not only does this record contain no fewer than five tracks in the eight-to-ten-minute range, but even the shorter tracks might contain two or three more or less complete songs within them. If that sounds like an awful idea to you, you will surely hate this record. The shifts from movement to movement are downright whiplash-inducing, from piano and noisy electric guitar one second to burbling synths and acoustic strumming (or, occasionally, some essentially tuneless hodgepodge) the next.

Despite all the craft and creativity evident in the endless dabbling in different styles, I can't quite escape the nagging feeling that this post-ironic prog-rock opera is all a put-on -- an elaborate prank at the expense of the listener. Bands like Ween and Mr. Bungle have tried similarly kitschy experimentation (although this sounds nothing like those bands), but they let the audience in on the joke; I get the sense that the Fiery Furnaces are laughing at me, not with me.

The Fiery Furnaces Fan Site
"Quay Cur" (11.9 MB MP3; 10:25, but it takes a few minutes to get going)

<=> | February 2, 2005

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