Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
Without a doubt, the verbosity of every living person is at an all-time high. It could just be that it seems like it is, but the feeling is that we are getting so many more daily words from people as they're going through their days. We're getting constant updates, continual reactions and opinions, photographs getting posted and tagged, rants and raves, more autobiographical information that you can shake a stick or wag a finger at. Most of it, we've all come to understand should be typed, chewed up and vomited right into a trash bin. The computer or smartphone accepting the submissions and postings should be wise enough to know when to divert the words right into a hole where it hides crap that it doesn't want you to find. It wouldn't have to tell anyone. The thing is that, no matter how anyone else feels about the mundane details of someone else's life, there are plenty of people whose mundane can be thrilling and captivating. It's not always the case, but there are people who deserve some slack and as much free reign in offering the stories up. There are people whose embellishments are also allowed. Blowhards are forgiven if they're entertaining and not just asses. We are willing to pay for good stories.
The Fiery Furnaces - the mostly brother and sister team of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger - are amongst those that we are happy to listen to for as long as they're willing to ramble on. They are and have been verbose to the max since their first record in 2003, "Gallowsbird's Bark," and they got even more so that way the following year, with "Blueberry Boat." "Rehearsing My Choir," a few years back, was a record meant to revolve around the varied and fascinating life of their grandmother, who also offered some vocals and spoken word segments to the album. The Friedbergers, with their jittery and loopy transgressions into melodies that come and go and then sometimes come and go a second time in a different shade of light, have made a point all their own of parking as many nuggets of narrative into everything that they do that you wonder how they've managed to reflect on so much. It makes you wonder how much stimuli they must need to consume and witness to churn out twice as much. It's like considering how damned many oranges need to be squeezed to fill a gallon jug of orange juice. It's as if the ripening of all those oranges, the short, but fulfilled lifetime of those round fruits is contained and tasted in those glasses of the drink.
You feel the same thing with the Fiery Furnaces, even if they're singing about pirates, a cargo of the best blueberries in the US of A (grown in Grand Rapids, from what we've heard) and going down with the berries, if that's what it takes to same the boat and the berries. Eleanor sings at the very end of the song (after earlier making one of her mates switch off the porn cause there's "nothing that's dirty about the ocean in the morn"), after telling the pirates that they'll have to cut her throat to get the blueberries, "It's sad and it's cold at the bottom of the sea, but at least I've got my blueberries with me." The way that the words come out, in such bottomless bursts, it seems like they have to come out, as if there is a time limit that has to be met. There will be a time when their movements cease and when "my cheeks would be the color of dead jellyfish, lying on the beach," and these chronicles are the only form of immortality known to any man.