|Fiery Furnaces, The / Rehearsing My Choir|
|Add Date:||2006-02-05|| ||Pull Date:||2006-04-09|| |
|Week Ending:||2 Apr||26 Mar||12 Mar||5 Mar||26 Feb||19 Feb||12 Feb|
|matthew stark rubin|
Fiery Furnaces- Rehearsing My Choir. Rough Trade 2005|
Reviewed by Matthew Stark Rubin Jan 2006. FCC track 7 (bitch)
Cutesy synth storytelling; essentially an indie opera (NOT to be confused with operetta; there’s more recitative here than aria; it’s much less accessible than Gilbert and Sullivan, for instance). Quite bizarre. Only a few of the songs stand out from each other. Most of the vocals are spoken rather than sung; the album is actually closer to a short story than a musical recording. Unless you play the whole album, you’re in danger of missing the point, which is to convey the impressions of a tortured love affair between two Chicagoans across many decades. As an album it’s incredibly interesting, but coherent single songs don’t really exist here, so it’s value for radio is questionable. If you want to play it, I suggest picking the songs based on the lyrics (included in the booklet) more than anything else, but even so I’ve tried to pick out the few numbers that I think might work over the air for brief description:
2- starts with cool, dancey, dark synth groove. Alternates between spoken word breakdowns and odd variations on the initial groove. Gets folky w/ slide guitar towards the end before going back to dance vibe.
9- nice mournful female vox and piano start, then fall into cheerier instrumental pop guitar section before synth/organ experimentation takes over alongside aggressive female vox. Then the pop guitar section reprised on ivory as well as casio keys. Then more plaintive vocals- this time accompanied by minor-key acoustic- before final pop melody reprise. After more crazy synth messiness, things become pretty incoherent, but thankfully the end is nigh.
and here are blurbs for the rest of the trax:
1- ragtime-like toy-sounding piano playing, about trains and steel, and playing songs for kids. At 2:40 it becomes minor-key and sadder, still the same piano sound.
3- ghoulish synth vamp to start. Then poppier guitar-driven section. Then some hectic interlude before a pretty and manic acoustic guitar/vibes/slide guitar riff, while they sing about zombies. These parts are then reprised. Lots of spoken-word storytelling, but also many moments of pretty melody as well.
4- starts with spacey flaming lips section. later reintroduces somber piano solo melody from track 1. also, some cool synth-bend sections pop up now and again. very pleasant. After a cornily triumphant organ chorale, song kinda breaks down into weird atonal noiseness (which correspond to the lyrics: “and I mean this respectfully: the did not match pitch.”
5- drums on this one. Faster, more energy than other tracks. Could almost call it a rock vamp, albeit a campy one. Then Gilbert and Sullivan take over on piano/vox and later organ/drums. Closes with an intense, almost latin/salsa section into synth/experimental outro.
6- syncopated synths alongside spoken word, acoustic rhythm guitar holding it down in background. Sometimes piano, sometimes synth take over for acoustic, but similar vibe throughout. Until they start singing about donuts and chocolate while Scott Joplin pours through the player piano, and later an accordion-sounding synth. Some darker jewish melodies just before end.
7- FCC BITCH- acoustic guitar grooving in foreground, with synths/piano takin turns with lead lines. Dirty blues riffage takes over. Dark Peter Gabriel-like vamp before they start putting together a spell (lyrically) over quirky synth noodling. Then nice pretty acoustic guitar finger pickage for a moment before bittersweet, vintage-broadway-style piano. Dirty riffage returns! Then some organs build into dark, dreary section, before more hard guitar action. Then it sounds like video game music. Definitely the most schizo, prog song on the record: 10 min long.
8- alternates between chamber piano/organ sections and magnetic fields like chamber/synth pop. Short.
10- walking one-note piano bass line (later transposed up many octaves) with synth blips and speaking over it dominates. Rest of the song is dominated by singing about rehearsing the choir and REALLY thick, saucy synths.
11- the quintessential coda, about the funeral of one of the protagonists...and of course the music played at it. Reprises many of the themes of the rest of the record. Ends sweetly, like a Disney musical. THE END.