Eleanor Friedberger - New View
With The Fiery Furnaces still on indefinite hiatus, front woman Eleanor Friedberger returns with her third solo album in four years; the follow-up to 2013’s critically acclaimed Personal Record. After the release of one-off single ‘False Alphabet City’, New View can be seen as phase 2 of Friedberger’s shedding of the trappings of city life – casting off the fake glitterati, the false friends, and the toxicity of life in the hipster eye of Brooklyn. The move to rural upstate New York is evident in the mood and feel of the record as a whole – recorded live to tape in a converted barn studio.
New View lacks the frenetic vibe and unabashed kookiness of Friedberger’s work with The Fiery Furnaces (once touted as the next White Stripes), but her sardonic lyricism remains and is combined with a folky MOR sound. This mixture results in a record broadcasting a sense of loneliness and hermit lifestyle, especially prevalent in ‘Open Season’ (“I’m opening a tree museum / That’s my new hobby”) which overlays a lost Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young track. Other highlights include ‘Sweetest Girl’, the closest relative to her earlier work, ‘Never Is A Long Time’, reminiscent of early Elliott Smith (even down to the double tracking of the vocals), and relentlessly bouncy ‘Cathy With The Curly Hair’ replete with insistent Wurlitzer synths. The overall result is an album that shows the ever growing talent of Friedberger as a strong songwriter, musically diverse, and at the start of promising new chapter of her songwriting output.