Alternative music reviews

The Fiery Furnaces

Gallowsbird’s Bark Oct 2003

The comparisons are so obvious – how related are The Fiery Furnaces to The White Stripes? The vocals are similar, there’s some good old blues influenced guitar, and the approach is eccentric. I heard their single Crystal Clear about 6 weeks ago and I was impressed by the A-side but it is only now that I have the album that I can get a grip on what they are doing. They are tellers of stories over clever and strange music and it’s as unsettling as it is intriguing.

The Fiery Furnaces are unique in the same way as The White Stripes (if that’s not a complete contradiction). Each are wonderful in their own way. The Furnaces are seriously strange and more art-rock with Pissaro references and odd stories. It’s much more keyboard-based and, in some ways, the eccentric songs of Jack and Megan that sometimes seem like fillers between the rocking out pop re-interpretations of the blues are actually what The Furnaces are all about. This is an astonishing debut by a band that seems destined to earn the love off everybody who enjoys the offbeat.

They don’t have the pop-sensibility and old-age appeal to readers of the Guardian, and the kids that listen to Radio One – but that just makes them even more special. The lunatics are out of the asylum and they play startling music.

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