So I went to see THE FIERY FURNACES, the sibling spouse combo from America. I’ve only ever seen this lot live – on record they are nothing to me. They were playing in Whelans, which is near where I live. They had a support act. At first I thought the support act were local, and I was thinking “these chaps seem a cut above the usual loser outfits who infect this town, maybe I should offer to become their manager”. I went into a long mental reverie about how I’d have to say to them something like “Kids, your music is great. What you need is a manager, and I’m the man to take you on. However I have some essays to write for spy school, so I won’t be able to start for a week or two. How about it?”.
It turned out they were foreign, and did a neat line in mumbling their name incomprehensibly. They had a pretty tight rhythm section and a young lad on keyboards with a great line in nerd-chic. He seemed to be evolving towards doing funny dances when he wasn’t playing on tracks. The band's overall sound suggested post-punk influences, electronically tinged. After they finished, I asked them their name, and learned that they are called Scissors For Lefty. So now you know. I wish them every success in their endeavours.
The Fiery Furnaces have gone all rock… big riffola action from the siblings of doom. Boy FF seems like a well-adjusted fellow, belting out his very fiddly sounding guitar lines, while Girl FF delivers her vocals with an hair of studious neuroticism. I recognised one of the song from ATP – something about not wanting to be late – and they also did a song about how Girl FF had lost her dog (but don’t worry… he was lost, but now he is found). Other songs had lyrics about different subjects.
I don’t know much about music, so I wouldn’t understand any of that talk about unusual time sequences, but I see what people mean when they talk of the band’s impressive but unusual playing style and tendency to stop and start in a strange manner, coupled with the singer’s oddly direct yet detached vocal style, and her lyrics about odd subjects. Like that one where the whole song lyrics seemed to be about how she had gone to bed he night before without changing out of her clothes and now her hair was all matted. Mad stuff, especially as the song’s contemporary component was all about how she did NOT want to brush her hair. People are weird.
Talking to people afterwards suggested that the Fiery Furnaces on record typically are rather electronic, but the recent album has gone down a much more hard-core riff action route. With this tour they have apparently re-engineered their old electronicy tracks to make them sound all riffy. Riffs are great.