One thing you can say about the Friedberger siblings, Matthew and Eleanor, is they are not boring. With its eighth release in six years, I’m Going Away, the band is rivaling Ryan Adams for speed of creative output and diversity of sound. Unlike him, though, The Fiery Furnaces are a cohesive unit, and while the music runs the inspirational gamut from garage to blues to funk, they find a way to make it fit.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the record is how relatable it is. As lo-fi as it sounds, this could have been done with a tape recorder in your best friend’s basement. And when Eleanor sings, “If I see you tomorrow, I don’t know what I will do,” in the lounging ode to crying jags, “Drive to Dallas,” we can all torch along with her. The frenetic pace and constant changes can sometimes be alarming, but there’s a common thread here that weaves the weirdness together. Somehow, the Friedbergers are us, and we are them. They have a healthy disrespect for boundaries and homemade charm to spare, and I’m Going Away is both a comforting and chaotic reminder that there’s always someone else out there who knows the drill.
The Fiery Furnaces play the Variety Playhouse on Thursday, August 20.
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