The Fiery Furnaces, I’m Going Away
The Furnaces' most blessedly straightforward work in years
Especially after Remember, the Fiery Furnaces' jarring "live" album that stitched together dozens of concert and one-take living-room versions of their extensive back catalog into a kind of meta-performance, I'm Going Away is something of a relief. The cut-up method that characterized Matt and Eleanor Friedberger's group from 2004's Blueberry Boat forward has always been an obstacle — often a thrilling, nervy one — but it's also made them a bit forbidding. Not so here: I'm Going Away is their most blessedly straightforward work since 2005's EP. Recorded in the Friedbergers' homes with engineer and bassist Jason Loewenstein, and fully co-written by the siblings for the first time since their 2003 debut, Gallowsbird's Bark (after which Matt basically took over the songwriting), I'm Going Away sounds comfortable, lived-in and friendly, even when drummer Robert D'Amico is bashing away on "Staring at the Steeple" or Matt is putting a guitar solo through an effect that makes it sound like a bassoon on "Ray Bouvier." But the flourishes are less the point here than the grooves. That's right: grooves on a Fiery Furnaces album — lots of them, none more affecting or effective than the rolling piano/guitar line that drives "Lost at Sea," the most unaffected lyric on the album. "Baby I'm . . . maybe I'm not me," Eleanor sings regretfully. But she and Matt still sound exactly like themselves — and more approachable than ever.