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I'm Going Away

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I’m Going Away is the Fiery Furnaces’ Eighth album. It was recorded by and mixed with Jason Loewenstein at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 in New York City. Jason also played bass and Robert D’Amico played drums. All songs were written together by Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger, except for the title track, which is “trad. Arranged by.” Eleanor wrote ... Read more in Amazon's The Fiery Furnaces Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Aug. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B002AKAM2Y
  • Other Editions: Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,336 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

BBC Review

Depending on how you categorise their ten-track, 41-minute EP release of 2005, I’m Going Away is either The Fiery Furnaces’ seventh or eighth studio album. And that’s just the tip of the divisive iceberg when it comes to this New York-based brother-sister duo – since 2003’s debut Gallowsbird’s Bark, they’ve puzzled and thrilled in near equal measures.

Eleanor Friedberger – who handles the majority of the vocals while her sometime-solo-artist brother Matthew tackles studio instrumentation – is a fine spinner of yarns, to the extent where the listener can be wholly engrossed in her storytelling. But neat wordplay one moment can be followed by an ugly collision of syllables the next, as if the singer neglects to ever edit her lyric sheet.

Staring at the Steeple is an example of her singular style, both with regard to lyrical content and her delivery: punchy, but unlikely to be to everyone’s taste, and without a range wide enough to lift songs when they begin to slump. On more than one occasion you could take the words from her mouth, put Jack White in her place and craft White Stripes classic; here, though, highlights are easily identifiable on an album that flits from pillar to post without the consistency that characterised the group’s early releases.

Drive to Dallas is an endearing almost-ballad, positioned nicely at track two of twelve as if to immediately counter the playfully/painfully (delete as appropriate – it’s that sort of song) erratic opening title track. Its relaxed pace and lovelorn lyricism is immediately engaging, and while faster numbers may shout louder, it’s clear before long that they actually say a lot less. Compared to the sincerity of Drive to Dallas, the wobbly piano and percussive clatter of Charmaine Champagne seem strangely artificial, however much the “ba-ba-ba” vocal hook nags at the attentions.

Lost at Sea is affecting in the right ways – it’s torch-song-like in its delivery – and The End is Near is a delightfully quirky affair that brings Matthew into the vocal mix, as his lines entwine with those of his sister. But the peculiar show-tune flourishes of efforts like closer Take Me Round Again detract from what could have been a solid long-player. Again, The Fiery Furnaces have produced a record that will leave as many listeners scratching their heads as singing along with heartfelt reverence. --Mike Diver

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. N. A. Vincent on 27 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
Fiery Furnaces last proper studio album "Widow City" had a few great moments but, to my ears, the band seemed to be becoming wilfully awkward in places. It was as if, having crafted the perfect pop song, they panicked and threw in a blast of discordant noise lest someone should want to play it on the radio.
Last years live compilation/mix was somewhat hit and miss (much like seeing them perform) with some songs rearranged to the point where they lost their original magic.

So it was with some trepidation that I took my first listen to "I'm Going Away". Indeed the title track that starts the album has the discordant guitars and switching rhythms common to their later period (Bitter Tea onwards). From there on though it's like the Friedbergers had a band meeting and decided to play it straight.

Fiery Furnaces have always had the most beguiling melodies and hooks and here they keep it up throughout. The pace and sound is fairly consistent - relaxed but short piano/jazz guitar ballads and this makes the album gel as a whole. Of course the band hasn't gone totally AOR on us, the tracks are still full of surprising turns and typical Eleanor Friedberger lyrics.

In my opinion this is their strongest album since Blueberry Boat (my personal favourite) even though the two couldn't be more diverse in style and content. It's only July but this record has to be a contender for my own personal album of the year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike Mantin on 21 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Fiery Furnaces have so far built a career out of suprising people. Their 2004 magnum opus Blueberry Boat was a sprawling, beautiful and occasionally terrifying masterwork, with half the songs over 10 minutes long and divided into short sections which would shift entirely with no notice. They followed it with an album recorded with Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger's grandmother, 80-year-old Olga Sarantos, and the eccentricity and unpredictability (which often translsates into genuinely original music) has since become their defining characteristic.

So much so, then, that one of the biggest shocks they have delivered so far is putting out an album of relatively straightforward "'70s piano pop" (their words), with no grandmothers or ludicrously complicated storylines in sight. Clearly this will cause anxious ripples amongst their fanbase, but 'I'm Going Away' both flirts with mainstream success and works hard to cement their reputation as master songwriters of catchy and - yes - unpredictable pop songs.

It's an album of piano ballads, seemingly using one of their most memorable songs - 'Evergreen', from their stunning 2005 collection EP - as a template. They are short and accessible, yet manage to mostly be as thrilling as their any of their prog explorations. 'Keep Me In Dark', a triumphant jam built around menacing riffs from the piano and Matthew's beloved wah-wah guitar, disintegrating into a disjointed but beautiful instrumental breakdown.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Different (but still great) Direction 14 April 2010
By Alina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've always believed the Fiery Furnaces to be grossly undervalued for all the reasons that I've always enjoyed them. This album doesn't feature the same unpredictability and wacky tangents as their previous albums, opting for a more organic, straightforward "rock" sound, but I found it just as interesting and enjoyable and still very "Fiery Furnaces". I appreciate they are still trying new things and surprising their audience. I think the quality of this album isn't lacking though I can see why some fans may be disappointed just because it is so different. I still loved it and would highly recommend it.
As straight-forward as they've ever been... but still quirky 20 Oct. 2009
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've been a big fan of the Fiery Furnaces since their (mistitled) 2005 "EP" album and have been following the brother-sister act of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger ever since, and it's been a dizzying up-and-down ride ever since, with lots of releases, some of them good, some of them not so good. I was not enthralled by their 2007 "Widow City" studio album, but loved their 2008 "Remember" sprawling live collection. Now comes the new album.

"I'm Going" (12 tracks; 47 min.) kicks off with the weirdish sounding title track, followed by an even stranger "Drive To Dallas" (with an ever-faster tempo towards the end), but pretty soon into album settles in and, get this, the band sounds as straight-forward indie-rock as they've ever been. "The End Is Near" is a pensive song, "Cut the Cake" strolls along merrily, "Even In the Rain" (one of my favorite tracks on here) is a pop-sounding track (complete with hand-clapping). Piano is noticeably present in many of the songs, such as "Staring At the Steeple", which kicks off the second half of the album, and "Lost At Sea". The 6+ min. closer "Take Me Around Again" sums up the album perfectly. In all, quite a departure from previous outings (surprise!), but with plenty of quirky moments to remind you that this is the Fiery Furnaces. One last point: the CD inner sleeve contains the lyrics to the songs, but alas, they are printed so small, they are nigh-impossible to read.

I saw the Fiery Furnaces again in concert just this August here in Cincinnati, and they brought many of the songs from this album, sounding much harder/rockier than what you hear on the album. Great, great set. THey never disappoint live. Finally, if you wonder where you can hear this band, check out WOXY (BAM! The Future of Rock and Roll), the internet-only station that brings the best indie-rock in the country, bar none.
Great album, but a total change of pace 15 Aug. 2009
By csk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is by far the most mainstream-sounding Furnaces album to date, but that's not as bad as it sounds. Most of the songs have very conventional structure and melodies--quite a radical departure for this band--but I find them beautiful and they still sound like no one else. Think John Cale, whose most conventional compositions still sound totally unique and surprising (not that FF sound like Cale of course). I can imagine someone fearing that they've sold out or run out of steam, but I don't think so. Trying to write Blueberry Boat over and over would be the act of a band with no new ideas and would surely be tedious, but Matt and Eleanor are still paving new ground, and I think the results are beautiful. Their last album, Widow City, seemed a bit meandering and usually tires me out by the end. I don't get bored with this one, and in fact it ends on a total high (Take Me Round Again). I'll have to see how the album will hold up over the long term, but I suspect that I will still play it a year from now. When I play this, I hear something totally unique and surprising (to borrow my own words), just as I've come to expect from the Fiery Furnaces.
too talented for your own good? 18 Sept. 2010
By Rob Kleiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a long time fan, I was very excited when this record came out. Obviously way ahead of their time, I see FFs as leading innovators in modern pop rock. This record seems a little more "modern rock" and a little less "pop" to me though. I miss some of the playful catchy tones on this record which were abundant lyrically and melodically in previous albums. I'll still buy every album they make until I'm dead.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Their first disapointing album... 12 Aug. 2009
By Brent White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Let me preface this review by saying that the Fiery Furnaces are my favorite band. I love all seven of their previous albums. I've recommended them for years to bemused friends and bought their CDs as gifts for others. I had the privilege of seeing them in concert once. It is with great sadness, then, that I say that the new one is a stone-cold bore. I miss the synths and mellotron, the radical tempo shifts, the playful melodies, the whimsy... I also miss the melancholy. The Fiery Furnaces have always possessed great humor, but with a sad undercurrent: "Benton Harbor Blues," "Restorative Beer," "Police Sweater Blood Vow," "Chief Inspector Blancheflower," "1917," "Slavin' Away"... For me, nothing here is as emotionally resonant. I don't feel it. There aren't many interesting melodies (whereas on previous albums there were, like, three per song). Most of the time, Eleanor's vocal melody simply matches the melody line that Matt is playing on piano. There's a lot more repeating of lines and phrases here--to the point of annoyance. I didn't like, "She's gonna get me folked up, fairly beat," the first time I heard it, much less the 50th. This sounds like a band that is out of ideas. (I'm still in love with Matt's guitar playing, though!)

Whatever... They've made seven breathtakingly good albums in a row. Not many bands have matched that in rock history. They're entitled to a clunker. But it does hurt a little.
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