|Eleanor Friedberger — New View (January 22, 2016)|
Eleanor Friedberger — New View (January 22, 2016) ♣ NEW VIEW IS BEST APPRECIATED WITH A DEEP AND UNHURRIED ENGAGEMENT, AS THE FULL ALBUM IN FULL FIDELITY OFFERS MANY DISTINCTIVE PLEASURES. Born: September 2, 1976 in Oak Park, Illinois
Location: New York City
Album release: January 22, 2016
Record Label: Frenchkiss Records
Genre: Indie, Alternative
01. He Didn’t Mention His Mother 4:00
02. Open Season 4:43
03. Sweetest Girl 3:01
04. Your Word 3:42
05. Because I Asked You 3:44
06. Never Is A Long Time 3:26
07. Cathy With The Curly Hair 3:26
08. Two Versions Of Tomorrow 5:47
09. All Known Things 5:07
10. Does Turquoise Work? 2:29
11. A Long Walk 5:49
♣ New View, the third solo album by Eleanor Friedberger, was rehearsed in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park and recorded in upstate New York. The former is a place where characters in Warren Zevon songs get clingy with their old lady while toughing out heroin withdrawal; the latter is where Bob Dylan got clingy with Robbie Robertson after flying off his motorcycle and revisiting the highway with his face. The songs were recorded live to tape with simple instrumentation: drums, bass, Wurlitzer and 12~string acoustic guitar on almost every track, courtesy of the band Icewater (Malcolm Perkins, Jonathan Rosen, Michael Rosen, Noah Hecht), with Dorian DeAngelo contributing a handful of well~placed guitar solos. Producer Knieper (son of Jurgen Knieper, the German composer whose credits include the score to Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire) gives the album a classic sound, like something that’s existed forever on a record collector’s shelf, wedged in with Dylan’s New Morning and John Cale’s Vintage Violence. For everything new about New View, it still fits comfortably in the continuity of Friedberger’s work. Songs like “Open Season” recall the Furnaces at their most magisterial. The wry, plainspoken “Because I Asked You” builds on the style Friedberger first polished on her solo debut Last Summer. And then there’s “A Long Walk,” the sun~striped finale that lends a memorable afterglow to New View. She’s never lacked confidence — this is someone who once took a fractured nine~minute ballad about the international blueberry trade and put it across like it was “Thunder Road” — but there’s a new kind of confidence on this record. It’s a sweet, aching goodbye from an album that seems full of them. Product Description
♣ Freeflowing, organic 3rd studio album from one~time Fiery Furnaces singer/songwriter & her band Icewater. Recorded live~to~tape in producer Clemens Kneiper’s converted barn studio
♣ So after over a decade of Brooklyn dwelling, Friedberger moved to upstate New York and wrote her third solo album “New View.” And while “Personal Record” was populated with energized, electric rock songs and party~hopping anthems, “New View”’s territory is far more easygoing, more traditional in its structure. The record’s no~fuss, featherlight acoustic pop songs weave into one another seamlessly, Friedberger’s melodies familiar and redolent of artists like Harry Nilsson and Neil Young without playing like nostalgia. But even if “New View”’s overall aesthetic may pair nicely with your laziest summer Sunday morning, there’s an undercurrent of serious melancholia in Friedberger’s writing here, setting it apart tonally from her previous two records.... 7.8 — Pitchfork, January 20, 2016 Review:
BY THOMAS BRITT, 18 January 2016; Score: 8
♣ Sometimes she sits and thinks, and sometimes she just sits. So went Courtney Barnett’s song lyric~turned album title and critic’s darling of 2015. In that phrase Barnett seemed to harness the process of her songwriting, that of seeing and considering one’s unique perspective in order to relate it in song. This is the sort of thing an artist like Lucinda Williams has been doing for decades; making an observation shared feel like a shared observation.
♣ Eleanor Friedberger has emerged as another such songwriter, beginning with 2011 solo debut Last Summer and continuing through third album New View. Here Friedberger is in full command of her well~honed ‘60s/‘70s rock sensibilities and one~of~a~kind vocal styling that continues to evolve with each album. There’s an inherent risk to mining familiar influences including “Van Morrison, Neil Young and George Harrison”, because a casual listen might convince experienced ears that they’ve heard it all before. Therefore New View is best appreciated with a deep and unhurried engagement, as the full album in full fidelity offers many distinctive pleasures.
♣ Together with band Icewater, Friedberger has used throwback sounds and recording techniques to create an album with time in mind. The “drums, bass, Wurlitzer and 12~string acoustic guitar… recorded live to tape” aren’t so much employed to recapture the past or necessarily to pay tribute to it. More often than not, the function is an aesthetic filtering of the activities in the lyrics (and likely the activity of writing the lyrics). These are songs about the days of life in which you find yourself passing time listening to old records and trying to make sense of the cycles of life.
Much of the lyrical content of New View concerns an unnamed “you”. In the first couple of songs, the first~person perspective (conveyed by Friedberger’s voice, but not necessarily her experiences) plans to “write about you” and she “think[s] of you.” The rest of the album makes good on those phrases, as versions of “you” enter and exit the life of the character being sung. Whoever “you” is, the nature of Friedberger’s voice — honeyed, growing in depth and expressivity — corresponds nicely with the intimacies being narrated. Another sort of interplay worth noting is that of the singer’s voice and the players of Icewater. Throughout the album, guitar lines weave around Friedberger’s vocals. Guitar solos and organ/keys solos embellish or solely communicate certain emotional notes, as in “Your Word” when the keys replace an unfinished phrase. On the Dylan~referencing “Never Is a Long Time”, drums sneak into the mix and disquiet the tranquil tone.
♣ Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of Friedberger’s flourishing solo career is that her work no longer requires the context of the Fiery Furnaces, a band she shares with brother Matthew. Having released nine albums between 2003 and 2009, the Fiery Furnaces were a dominant reference point for whatever departures each sibling took after that group went on hiatus in 2011. Yes, New View contains a couple of specific callbacks, such as the likeness of “Because I Asked You” to “My Egyptian Grammar” from Widow City. And “Sweetest Girl” alludes to Blueberry Boat in lyrical phrasing (compare “you sit and you stare” to “Turning Round”’s “you sleep in your car”) and drum fills like those from “Chris Michaels.” But overall New View can be appreciated entirely apart from the Fiery Furnaces’ discography and on its own terms. In fact, as a vocalist, Friedberger’s technique on New View is to enliven short words with extra syllables and long durations, which contrasts with the Fiery Furnaces’ frequent demand of fitting large numbers of words into small spaces.
♣ The irony of having successfully established herself as a solo artist is that her three albums create a reverse speculation. As in, what would the Fiery Furnaces sound like now, if she were to return with the effects of these experiences? Contributing to this thought experiment is the fact that just last year Matthew Friedberger released Mr. Fried Burger, I Resume?, his strongest solo album in the near~decade since Winter Women and Holy Ghost Language School. But as fun as it is to sit and think of future Fiery Furnaces, at present New View will more than do. ♣ http://www.popmatters.com/
By Ed McMenamin, Jan 11, 2016, Score: 7/10
|Eleanor Friedberger — New View (January 22, 2016)|