Eleanor Friedberger, 'Last Summer' (Merge)

8
Last Summer
Critical Mass
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Label: Merge

by Brian Raftery

The solo debut from the ?Fiery Furnaces' singer is a beguiling and byzantine New York-centric travelogue: "Owl's Head Park" uses an airy sax to portray a lost day in Coney Island, while the gurgling keyboards and swan-dive strings on "Roosevelt Island" sound like an ?outtake from Fleetwood Mac's Tango in the Night ?(a good thing, BTW). There are expected blips of Fiery playfulness -- pinballing "bop bop" vocals, backward-masked beats -- but this is as straightforwardly evocative as abstract pop gets, with the hazy beauty and fractured narratives of a vintage Polaroid slide show.

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