Inn of the Seventh Ray
Scenes from Bensonhurst
Glitter Gold Year
I Won't Fall Apart On You Tonight
Owl's Head Park
As lead singer for the Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger skillfully navigates the often-complicated pieces written by her brother Matthew. They’re great songs, but you shouldn’t get attached to the hooks or chord changes because they regularly get tossed overboard when things suddenly shift gears. On her impressive debut, Last Summer, Friedberger works with simpler material and sparser arrangements. Friedberger sings and talk-sings in phrases that can be nervously speedy or rhythmically incisive — or suddenly shift gears. The album opens strongly with “My Mistakes,” whose chugging groove is decked out with a springy keyboard riff and a rhythm guitar part that evokes Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy. Most of Last Summer’s lyrics detail situations set in New York locales, but “Inn of the Seventh Ray,” with its Beatles-tinged piano part, is a mid-tempo tour through Los Angeles. (The title refers to the venerable Topanga Canyon hippie restaurant.) The best thing here might be “Roosevelt Island,” a funky wonder with a stunning arrangement, the tale of a summer day in New York colored by vivid sensations and emotions.