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Music  |  Reviews

The Fiery Furnaces: Remember

[Thrill Jockey]

August 26, 2008  |  10:45am
The Fiery Furnaces: <em>Remember</em>
A live album from one of alt-rock's weirdest acts is a bitter tea to swallow.

The siblings Friedberger shuffle The Fiery Furnaces' tour lineup with each new outing, making this assemblage of live recordings from 2005-2007 more a reinvention of their studio work than the usual quick-and-dirty greatest hits collection that the live album has come to represent.

A hopscotch across three years' worth of live material is jarring; pristine studio-quality recordings dissolve into rough passages poached from bootlegs, often within the same track. These questionable production decisions are to Remember’s benefit though, owing to the scattershot nature of the source material. The band’s trademark nü-prog meanderings and flagrant disregard for solid tempo are given weight by the Frankensteinian patchwork.

Notably missing from Remember is the crowd noise, excised almost entirely in the mixing process, rendering most of the tracks staid and clinical. It sucks the life out of otherwise absorbing music and forces the album to straddle a shaky middle ground. In the end, it's too erratic even by The Fiery Furnaces' standards to be a studio album, and utterly lacking the charm and character of the band's exhausting live show.

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