Listening to the classic-rock jigsaw puzzles Eleanor Friedberger and her brother Matthew create in the Fiery Furnaces can be difficult work. As a solo artist, she's more approachable. Her second LP is full of crisp, jangly indie pop that can suggest Harry Nilsson or a bookish early Stones, and it's packed with stories of young people too mopey and absent-minded to realize the person across the bar is hitting on them. As its title suggests, Personal Record is intimate but slyly self-aware and empathetic for its likably hapless characters. "There are other boys, too," she consoles one of them on "Other Boys." "But don't let it worry you." She's winking, but each wink squeezes out a tear.
From The Archives Issue 1185: June 20, 2013