Like their namesake, the Fiery Furnaces exhibit a flame-like propensity for shifting and moving rapidly. This is evident both in their music, which is spontaneous and unpredictable, and in their career —each of their seven albums almost sounds like the work of a different band. But in a world of small rock bands that seemingly break up before the press is cooled on their first record, this perpetual morphing seems to be the reason that this brother and sister duo is so long-lived.
It’s this constant change that’s also the reason for the success of I’m Going Away. It’s softer and more melodic than the band’s previous work, but it also exhibits a tightness and a knack for narrative storytelling that are striking. The band switches between fast garage-rock and funk-inspired jams, with a staggering variety of instruments picked up along the way. Eleanor Friedberger’s tenor is strong and joyful, and against the backdrop of her brother’s strong instrumentals, it’s positively earth-shaking.
The term “experimental rock” is usually too vague to be at all useful, but it applies perfectly to I’m Going Away. Without being self congratulatory or grandiose, the album is a constant work-in-progress, with an experiment or surprise around every corner. I wasn’t crazy about every track, but they all seemed to change the more I listened to them, and depth, and not perfection, is the mark of a band that has fully matured.
In A Word: Flying