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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bark" is better than their bite
The Fiery Furnaces seem to be the new king (and queen) of enigmatic, larger-than-life indie rock. While their second album was the one that got things moving, their debut "Gallowsbird's Bark" gained them a reputation for rich music and strange, dreamy writing.

Siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger open things with the jangly, cascading pop of "South Is Only...
Published on 22 July 2005 by E. A Solinas

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3 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gallows for this lark
A disappointing album. No real stand out tracks - the comparisons with Pixies are ludicrous.
Having enjoyed 'Tropical Ice-Land' I was expecting more of the same; sadly even this track is a downbeat version of the one currently enjoying airplay.
Hard to say to whom this album would appeal - certainly not lovers of grunge rock, or up-tempo pop. I found it boring,...
Published on 26 Feb 2004


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bark" is better than their bite, 22 July 2005
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
The Fiery Furnaces seem to be the new king (and queen) of enigmatic, larger-than-life indie rock. While their second album was the one that got things moving, their debut "Gallowsbird's Bark" gained them a reputation for rich music and strange, dreamy writing.

Siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger open things with the jangly, cascading pop of "South Is Only A Home" -- it's a fun little tune, but a bit chaotic-sounding. It's only in the third song, "Leaky Tunnel," that the album kicks into high gear, with banjo and electric guitar, overlaid with sparkling piano and rapid-fire percussion. Then you know that these two are something special.

Dipping into alt-country in places, the Furnaces mostly focus on trippy rock songs and catchy oddball pop songs. There's an out-and-out rocker in "Asthma Attack," a sprawling experimental stretch in "Crystal Clear," and they even try a bluesy acoustic song in "Bright Blue Tie," which only has a few flickery synth bits in the background.

Sparkly, tinkly piano, folky, dreamy, trippy, rock'n'roll and psychedelic music-hall. Those are only a few of the things that come to mind when listening to "Gallowsbird's Park." There's something oddly childlike and dreamy about this music, despite songs about how "if men and wine don't kill me." Perhaps it's the fact that their music has so many facets.

The sole problem seems to be, oddly enough, restraint. The Fiery Furnaces are not now known for their musical restraint, but in this album they seem to be damming up their larger-than-life talents. But even dammed-up, their catchy, complex blend of guitar rock, banjo, and rippling piano is intoxicating, as is the oddball additions. Who knew that a band with garage rock roots could have xylophone and the occasional electronica flicker?

Eleanor Friedberger sounds like she's having a great time here; you can imagine this husky-voiced singer singing a shopping list and sounding great. As it is, she brings a devil-may-care edge to lyrics about paying fines, celebrating the millennium, and oddball rhymes ("Down in the dumps/Me and the seagulls we were looking for lumps").

The Fiery Furnaces are gaining recognition for some of the most original indierock in years. And their enchanting debut is a rollicking, frolicking romp that never gets dull.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mutant psychedelia meets future classic, 13 Jan 2004
By 
Chrissy Boy (North Harrow, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
A fantastic mish-mash of psychedelia, punk, folk, blues and that indefinable factor 'x'which is the hall mark of all great rock records, the Fiery Furnaces debut album was a damn sight more interesting than 90% of the music that got all those jaded media renta-hack types foaming at the mouth in 2003. Densely fractured and unrepentedly weird, the music on this cd is a far cry from the so called 'new wave' of bands who merely re-hash the past and are then celebrated as innovators. There are reference points for sure (both Patti Smith and Ron Asheton spring to mind) but taken as a whole this is the sort of thing that will probably only get the recognition it deserves once non-existant sales and/or critical indifference have ensured that the band are consigned to some premature rock cemetry. Do yourself a favour and get a future classic now.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's put the future behind us, 22 April 2004
By 
C. SKALA (London, United Kingdom United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
A wonderful, quixotic, sea-shanty-punk crackle of garage rock filteredthrough delta blues, folk and anything else that serves the Friedlandersiblings' creative muse. Nothing contained in the songs is easilyidentifiable or open to easy categorisation. Eleanor is a potent presence,part Patti Smith, part Chrissy Hinde, but wholly her own woman. She'stough but soft, cool yet hot. The album repays repeated listenings as thesongs are difficult to decode, but once you've discerned their internallogic, yours is a richer world. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bark better than bite, 17 Jan 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gallowbird's Bark (Audio CD)
The Fiery Furnaces seem to be the new king (and queen) of enigmatic, larger-than-life indie rock. While their second album was the one that got things moving, their debut "Gallowsbird's Bark" gained them a reputation for rich music and strange, dreamy writing.

Siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger open things with the jangly, cascading pop of "South Is Only A Home" -- it's a fun little tune, but a bit chaotic-sounding. It's only in the third song, "Leaky Tunnel," that the album kicks into high gear, with banjo and electric guitar, overlaid with sparkling piano and rapid-fire percussion. Then you know that these two are something special.

Dipping into alt-country in places, the Furnaces mostly focus on trippy rock songs and catchy oddball pop songs. There's an out-and-out rocker in "Asthma Attack," a sprawling experimental stretch in "Crystal Clear," and they even try a bluesy acoustic song in "Bright Blue Tie," which only has a few flickery synth bits in the background.

Sparkly, tinkly piano, folky, dreamy, trippy, rock'n'roll and psychedelic music-hall. Those are only a few of the things that come to mind when listening to "Gallowsbird's Park." There's something oddly childlike and dreamy about this music, despite songs about how "if men and wine don't kill me." Perhaps it's the fact that their music has so many facets.

The sole problem seems to be, oddly enough, restraint. The Fiery Furnaces are not now known for their musical restraint, but in this album they seem to be damming up their larger-than-life talents. But even dammed-up, their catchy, complex blend of guitar rock, banjo, and rippling piano is intoxicating, as is the oddball additions. Who knew that a band with garage rock roots could have xylophone and the occasional electronica flicker?

Eleanor Friedberger sounds like she's having a great time here; you can imagine this husky-voiced singer singing a shopping list and sounding great. As it is, she brings a devil-may-care edge to lyrics about paying fines, celebrating the millennium, and oddball rhymes ("Down in the dumps/Me and the seagulls we were looking for lumps").

The Fiery Furnaces are gaining recognition for some of the most original indierock in years. And their enchanting debut is a rollicking, frolicking romp that never gets dull.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem, 11 Nov 2004
By 
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
File through the spurt of post-Jack 'n' Meg American exports and you'll probably come across this New York oddball gem. The Friedberger siblings have developed a sound on this debut which- while all over the place- sounds delightfully bluesy, messy and fresh; best so on the jam band stomp Two Fat Feet, pounding word jumble Crystal Clear and delightful strum-a-thon Tropical Ice-Land. It just needs a bit of musical glue to hold it all together. Still, unlike the current crop of pretenders jumping off the back of bandwagons, what the Fiery Furnaces don't lack is an imagination. And with Eleanor Friedberger's warped lyrics, they invite you to use your imagination as much as they play with theirs.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant off kilter bluesy pop 2 piece from New York, 24 Oct 2003
By 
P. Sharpe - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
This band have recently been signed in New York and are quite the pick of the bunch of recent bands being hyped from this US musical mecca. They are just so much more interesting than The Strokes.
The brother, sister two piece are mainly led with female vocals, reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde crossed with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The music has lots going on it, crazy keyboards and great guitars, very obscure lyrics which you'll be repeating over and over to yourself. For all its weirdness it remains one of the most listenable and catchy albums of the year.
Definitely a recommended listen, very refreshing and full of ideas.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sunshine and smiles, 26 Feb 2004
By 
Mr. G. C. Cutter "cutter_me" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
I'll admit, when I first heard 'Tropical Ice Land', I could not comprehend how anyone could write such an annoying song and not get fined for public indecency. It seemed to defy logic! But time changes everything, including an opinionated teenager' taste.
This IS a cheesey album, but it's not meant as a criticism, it's just another part of the brew. In fact, it's what makes the album so endearing, and so is the comradeship between the brother and sister duo. It's fun, witty and charming, like a really cool friend who likes sunny days and snaggletooths.
I love track 5, Inca Rag, the bouncy piano and nervous vocals that start the song grow into a Beatles/Motown summer song with wah-wah guitars and wierd lyrics. Gale Blow is also pretty cool with one finger piano stabs and percussion that rides along on tin pots. But what I really appreciate is the inventiveness that lifts this album out of the garage rock stupor that some 'cooler' bands adopt. Thos is worth your time and patience.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen them live- great!, 7 Dec 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
I saw the Fiery Furnaces live in the Astoria, London in August. They were really fab and the album isn't far off. They are a cross between Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pixies, with less of the seriousness of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and lyrics similar to that coming from Frank Black. They are light and fun, good easy listening. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different but not so heavy. Give them a try- you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars weirdly wonderful, 24 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
This album is wonderful, it oozes originality. At present there are too mainy rock 'n' roll bands that sounds the same- not the fiery furnaces. The lead singer sings with a confidence that is complimented by her beautiful coyness. The keyboard and its tricks provided work perfectly and the songs have a real depth. The only thing better is seeing this band live!
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3 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gallows for this lark, 26 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Gallowsbird's Bark (Audio CD)
A disappointing album. No real stand out tracks - the comparisons with Pixies are ludicrous.
Having enjoyed 'Tropical Ice-Land' I was expecting more of the same; sadly even this track is a downbeat version of the one currently enjoying airplay.
Hard to say to whom this album would appeal - certainly not lovers of grunge rock, or up-tempo pop. I found it boring, and sleep-inducing. Sorry.
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Gallowsbird's Bark
Gallowsbird's Bark by The Fiery Furnaces (Audio CD - 2003)
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