Eleanor Friedberger’s “Personal Record” an Apt Description

18 Aug


Eleanor Friedberger and her brother, Matthew, built a solid following as the core of the indie rock band, Fiery Furnaces.

In 2011, Eleanor branched out with her first solo CD, Last Summer. Her latest release, Personal Record, finds Friedberger extending herself even further resulting in an album that transcends a variety of genres. The album sparkles with crisp, well-produced indie pop, rock and folk. It’s full of personal stories — spun with a deft touch that’s witty, intelligent and most of all, genuine.

Musically, Friedberger relies on the fundamental rock instrumentation of electric guitar, bass and drums — but it’s supplemented by everything from organ to piano and from slide guitar to woodwinds.

Many of the tracks on Personal Record are standouts. “Stare at the Sun” is the first single. The song has almost a punk edge to it — with a fast tempo, rapid fire drumming and rapidly strummed guitar. “She’s a Mirror” provides bouncy fun, channeling Hall & Oates’ early 1980s hit, “Maneater.”

“I Am the Past” is an acoustic piece with really nice folk sensibilities. It’s a wistful look at the many moments we experience in life and then must leave behind, and how bittersweet it all can be. The clarinet solos in the bridges between verses are nice touches.

But the best track on the album may be “Other Boys,” a candid, calmly desperate look at so-called “open” relationships — that may well be more open for one person than the other. Friedberger’s biting observations of some of the “other girls” in her man’s life stand in stark contrast with the “other boys” she claims to also have.

Fresh, musically accomplished and lyrically intimate, there’s a lot to like about Personal Record.


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