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Fiery Furnaces

Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade)

The Fiery Furnaces' Who fixation was hard enough to swallow last year, when the brother/sister duo cited Pete Townshend as an influence on its hotly hyped debut, Gallowsbird's Bark. Unfortunately, Blueberry Boat drifts even deeper into the desultory waters of rock-opera entropy. Coming across as cute attempts at avant-garde wackiness, all of the disc's jarring shifts in tone and texture quickly degenerate from dizzying to desensitizing, rendering its already scant novelty more of an annoyance than some ironic exercise in cohesion through chaos. Singer Eleanor Friedberger sounds disoriented by sibling Matthew's meandering through the same swampland in which Bark became mired: fake cabaret jazz, fake Velvet Underground, fake blues and horribly fake glitch-hop. The whole mess is executed with calculating artifice rather than the scatterbrained whimsy that the Furnaces seem so desperate to project. Fans of the band's debut probably won't think twice before sucking up this sophomore effort, but they'd be well advised not to get fooled again.

 
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