REVIEW: Eleanor Friedberger – “Last Summer”

Eleanor Friedberger / Last Summer / Merge

Slithering out from underneath the shadow of an indie pop giant is no easy accomplishment, yet somehow Eleanor Friedberger does it without flinching. To her, debuting Last Summer isn’t a risk. In her eyes, it’s an adventure that had to be taken to provide a glimpse of her natural ability away from the admired miscellaneous noise and shuffle of tempos The Fiery Furnaces deployed in eight studio albums. That’s not to say Last Summer is a step away from the group’s writhing, complex song structures. A continuance from 2009’s I’m Going Away, Friedberger lets the abstract dance lightly on the album, with keys and simplicity directing spoken-word escapades (“Inn Of The Seventh Ray”, “My Mistakes”) and emotional pleas (“Glitter Gold Year”).

When she spreads her wings aiming to take flight from her roots, the door opens and out spills an ensemble of dreamy rock gems. “Scenes From Bensonhurst” is timid but the songstress’ smoky voice flirts with a modest bass lick for four minutes before threading through a frantic, funked-out pace on “Roosevelt Island”. To then twist psychedelia, doo-wop and other spontaneous tones kills Last Summer’s attitude. Friedberger is a dame with no intention of standing still but when she does on this softer take of a helter-skelter career, she makes senses sit on the edge of the world, waiting, wishing, dreaming.

Download: “Scenes From Bensonhurst”, “One-Month Marathon”


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