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Bitter Tea

Bitter Tea

10 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 10 April 2006
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Copyright: 2006 Rough Trade Records Ltd.
  • Total Length: 1:12:15
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001MYBOHG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,036 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 July 2007
Format: Audio CD
Bitter Tea is The Fiery Furnaces' fifth album in three years and represents another harmonious cacophony of sounds, beats, rhythms, with Eleanor being given much more freedom on vocals, to make this the siblings' best album to date.

Thematically, the album is dominated by a teenage girl's relationship with a boy who never makes an appearance on the album. She is either pining for him, despairing for his loss, indulging in escapism, or picturing an unhappy future without him.

Wrapping each song is the siblings' unique brand of pop music - pianos, xylophones, sudden changes of tempo and instruments, music and vocals played in reverse (listen out on "Black-Hearted Boy" for the ethereal, Celtic sound produced when Eleanor's vocals are reversed) ... There is almost something cartoon-like about the music, with all of its swirls and twirls, its giddy excitement, and its manic headlong rush to nowhere in particular. This is captured too in the vocals, with both Matthew and Eleanor combining to announce on "Bitter Tea" that "I am a crazy crane / I lost my true love in the rain".

The album opens with "In My Little Thatched Hut", with the girl casually watching life go by, as she waits for her lover to turn up. While Eleanor's lyrics never change, their self-assuredness diminishes as the music steadily picks up tempo and there is still no sign of lover-boy rowing up to where she waits for him. It is followed by "I'm In No Mood", with its twin assault of piano and xylophone and a very lethargic and sullen girl, who had fallen into bed drunk the night before.

The album's most curiously entitled song is "The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry", which ends with Eleanor singing out a telephone number (which apparently belongs to a bewildered Spanish-speaking lady in reality...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Hetherington on 30 April 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Fiery Furnaces just get odder as the years go by.

Whereas the EP and the first album Gallowsbird's Bark were the most accessible albums, the band made more challenging stuff with Blueberry Boat and Rehearsing My Choir. Bitter Tea seems to be somewhere in between.

While there are still some highly weird tracks present, there are some moments of pop genius here. Amongst all the cheap keyboards and blues guitars, the Fiery Furnaces have a real ear for a catchy tune that they only let out once in a while in their previous work. Here that talent is shown frequently and although I've heard some confused reactions (when I played the CD on the computer, my brother told me it sounded like the PC was crashing) if you take the time to really get into it and listen to the stories you will be rewarded.

Although it's certainly not the epic that Blueberry Boat was (that an internet cartoon described as 'The Who playing nursery ryhmes for ADD kids'), Bitter Tea gives you everything that the Furnaces are all about. New and experimental music that you can still find yourself humming throughout the day. Not many bands can claim they do that.

It might be an idea to listen to some tracks from the EP first though (Evergreen, Sing For Me) just to familiarise yourself with their style.

This record alone proves why everyone should take notice of this unique band.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Jun 2006
Format: Audio CD
The Fiery Furnaces got a lot of flack for their last album, a concept album about their grandmother's life. So fans will be glad that in "Bitter Tea," the eccentric musical siblings go back to what they do best: Music-hall madness.

This album has a less organic feel than their previous work, suggesting that Matt and Eleanor Friedberger are seeing what they are capable of. But their music hasn't changed too much: bizarre dance melodies, oddball songs and psychedelic slashing all make this an intoxicatingly weird experience.

It starts off with one of their best songs: the "Little Thatched Hut," with its sinuous dance beat, joined in by piano and acoustic guitar. But it doesn't stay static -- I don't think the siblings could stay musically still that long. The song explodes suddenly into bursts of electronic swoosh, tribal beats, and what sounds like a keyboard being strangled.

This sound continues over several other, full of electronic fuzzling between energetic piano and mellow acoustic guitar. And they also harken back to the Furnaces' previous albums, with "Benton Harbor Blues" sounding like a charming B-Side from their second album, and "Teach Me Sweetheart" is a charmingly muddled (and kind of gruesome) love ballad. Lots of bloodthirsty relatives!

But the Fiery Furnaces try out some new sounds as well, as several songs are more electronic-based than their prior work. The title track is a real rock song, and it's pretty dense and psychedelic. Elaborate swooshes, explosions of synth and wacky little samples are all laid over a dancey melody that is as infectious as it is bizarre. Though it's less organic, it's recognizably a Furnaces song.

Even after five albums, the Fiery Furnaces still don't get the recognition they deserve.
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By Bob Cheeseman on 13 Mar 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this album on the basis of a track I had heard but was given the wrong details for the Artist and Album (my fault). Not an album that i could personally recommend. The seller however did dispatch the item immediatley.
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