ALBUM REVIEW: Eleanor Friedberger | Personal Record

by Chris Familton

Rating8square-600-2Eleanor Friedberger has followed up her 2011 debut album relatively quickly and for that we should be thankful as it continues where that record left off with razor sharp observations of life and love in her typically infectious and deceivingly poetic manner.

The four year hiatus of The Fiery Furnaces has been a golden period for Friedberger, allowing her to spread her wings independently from her brother Matthew and prove the strength of her own writing. Personal Record is an album that overflows with effortless melodic hooks in songs pitched somewhere between jerky new wave and 70s power pop with noticeable yet subtle use of new instrumentation and arrangements. Her knack of writing songs that sound instantly familiar with verses and choruses tumbling into one another or gently drifting along with compositional ease is as strong as ever.

The Strokes-ish guitar chug of When I Knew is an early highlight that captures that moment of realisation that you’ve made a mistake in love. She cleverly wraps her verses around music related moments like listening to a specific album or bonding over a band, all in her trademark quick fire delivery. I’ll Never Be Happy Again drops gears into a wistful mood with equally engaging results while Echo or Encore offers up a delicate and restrained chorus between shuffling latin drums and guitar that tugs gently on devotional heartstrings. She’s a Mirror marries Hall & Oates with Dexy’s Midnight Runners in a playful romp bursting with her clever rhyming couplets.

There is barely a weak track among the dozen here and Friedberger’s ability to sound so direct while still trading in intellectual dissections of human relationships is what makes Personal Record such an engaging and relatable album.

this review was first published in Drum Media and on The Music


NEW MUSIC: Eleanor Friedberger | Stare at the Sun


Eleanor Friedberger’s debut solo album Last Summer was a fantastic collection of quirky songs that showed she can easily step out of the shadow of Fiery Furnaces and command a stage and a full album with her own songs. The good news is that is set to continue with her new album Personal Record, due out via Merge on June 4th.

After the tracklisting you can check out the first song to come from the new album, Stare at the Sun.

01 I Don’t Want to Bother You
02 When I Knew
03 I’ll Never Be Happy Again
04 Stare at the Sun
05 Echo or Encore
06 My Own World
07 Tomorrow Tomorrow
08 You’ll Never Know Me
09 I Am the Past
10 She’s a Mirror
11 Other Boys
12 Singing Time