Aftermath: The Fiery Furnaces' Indie-Rock Orobouros Is Nearly Too Meta for Walter's

Categories: Live Shots
[Ed. Note: An orobouros is the mythological image of a snake eating its own tail. Look it up.]

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Photos by Jody Perry

The narrative arc of the meta - yes, the meta has a narrative arc; wanna fight? - has officially been fucked with, and the audience it once had is now like; seriously, what's going on here, are they messing with us?

Here's what the narrative used to look like: Band X releases a record, the record is good; great, even. Band X does the junket, Pitchfork loves them, band releases another record (esoteric, hard to like perhaps, but progressive and polysyllabic), die-hards stay with them. Three years pass with the touring and then the not touring, band X contributes a song to a covers album (most likely a Daniel Johnston tribute) and most people say they remember them when.

Two more years pass, band X is kinda-sorta forgotten about and then, finally, they hit the festival circuit (if they're small enough, they'll play SXSW, but free day shows only) and once again become relevant, and their fans say they never forgot. That's it, and that's always it.


Fiery Furnaces on the other hand, couldn't give a shit.


On Take Me Round Again, Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger's ninth record, the brother/sister duo have included 12 songs where they cover themselves. Yep. The same 12 songs that appeared on I'm Going Away, released only four months prior. Thinking 'What the fuck?' is normal, and Fiery Furnaces still don't care.

What we have is a conundrum of a riddle that goes: What do you call a band who tours regularly playing songs from their own studio records now heard in a live format (a concert; no problem yet) so heard slightly differently?

Stay with us here: This band then goes on to those same concerts playing songs from a record that was released in November, a covers record of a previous record by the same band containing the same songs released in July, while they toured playing those same songs, sung differently because it's a concert while telling the audience, "We're going to hear the same songs as we heard last time, and this time around they're going to sound even different than they did last time, even though last time they sounded different."

Almost done: "We Fiery Furnaces don't like to sound like our studio albums because we prefer playing with the arrangements of the stuff we did in the studio," they'll tell you, "so every night you will hear the same set of songs that sound different from the albums for sale over there - please buy them, we're a little bit poor - and from every show you've been to."

A wha?

Because of this (imagine), audiences are getting a little too confused; at Walter's Friday night, everyone seemed mostly bored. Or maybe betrayed by the comfort of their own entitlement.

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