Take a pinch of Patti Smith, a sprinkling of Bob Dylan, and a hearty helping of iconic Brooklyn scenes and you get Last Summer. Eleanor Friedberger, best known for her work in Fiery Furnaces, is set to release her first solo album this July on Merge Records. Originally hailing from the Mid-West, the Brooklyn-based Friedberger began her singing career in a Greek Orthodox Church with her grandmother.
These days, Friedberger has come a long way from her religious singing roots. Contrary to hearsay, the Fiery Furnaces are not breaking up—Last Summer is a straightforward solo project that spotlights Friedberger’s unique writing style with a 60’s-esque, shoegaze feel. Claiming that she “hates silence,” the songstress keeps singing when there is no room left. She crams poetic images into measures with little respect for rhythm and typical songwriting rules while still managing to come off as quaint and experimental. Her carefree tunes all incorporate a cheery pop sound with a dark underbelly. “Scenes from Bensonhurst” and “Roosevelt Island” casually reference many local landmarks without seeming pretentious or forced, nor do they sound like typical songs about Brooklyn. They remain soft and woodsy, more like a Sunday morning in a cabin upstate than a hectic weekday spent navigating the F train. A punk, Ramones-type flair comes out on “I Won’t Fall Apart on You Tonight” with it’ strong bass and tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Friedberger writes her own landscape and invites the listener in. She touches on various current issues, including technology and friendship (“Now it’s all of them in my inbox”—Scenes from Bensonhurst) and the disappointment of New Year’s resolutions (“You said it wouldn’t be so bad but it’s worse”—Glitter Gold Year). Though some songs fall a little flat, it is obvious that Friedberger is a unique talent that stands out among a sea of indie pop groups. Genuinely marching to the beat of her own drummer, I expect many more classic albums from this solo songstress to come. (Erica Varlese)
Eleanor Friedberger Last Summer Track Listing:
1. My Mistakes
2. Inn of the Seventh Ray
4. Scenes from Bensonhurst
5. Roosevelt Island
6. Glitter Gold Year
7. One-Month Marathon
8. I Won’t Fall Apart on You Tonight
9. Owl’s Head Park
10. Early Earthquake
The album comes out today!