About This Video
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If you cool down the Fiery Furnaces chill them out, feed them Ritalin, remove at least one of their touring percussionists, etc then you'd essentially be left with a blues-rock bar band. You'd have an able-fingered guitarist, a commanding vocalist, and an organ player spitting out patterns of swirling Southern soul. You'd have lyrics that tell stories through repetition. "I am a crazy crane," they'd go. "I lost my true love in the rain." And then the lyrics would double back on themselves, repeating, just like they would in any old Muddy Waters tune. "I am a crazy crane. I lost my true love in the rain."
The Fiery Furnaces do have roots in blues music, which helps explain the band's constant comparisons to fellow brother-and-sister act The White Stripes. There's a catch, though: unlike ex-spouses Jack and Meg White, the Fiery Furnaces' blood lines are real. They are honest-to-God siblings, having been raised in the same environment by the same parents around the same time period. Their musical influences are shared. Their temperaments are alike. And because of this, they seem to always be on the same page, no matter how many experimental, 180-degree turns their music takes.
So here are the Fiery Furnaces, in all their combustible glory. Brother Matthew anchors the music with his guitar, while sister Eleanor confidently speak-sings like an urban slam poet. There are elements of blues, rock, pop, jam, polka, experimentalism, spoken word, performance art, and
actually, we'll stop trying to characterize a band that has built its name on an uncharacteristic sound. Watch, listen, and drink up every last drop of this Bitter Tea.
- Andrew Leahey