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Gallowsbird's Bark

25 customer reviews

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MP3 Music, September 23, 2003
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Audio CD, September 23, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • ASIN: B0000CABDC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,519 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joe Halloran on February 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The Fiery Furnaces. I love the band name, I love the debut album. At the risk of sounding like an imbecile I am going to try and do the impossible and describe how this album sounds. If Tom Waits had a sister that he played music with they probabaly would have recorded an album that sounds like "Gallowsbird's Bark". People love to categorize things, well, categorize this!!There was this word that about thirteen years ago that was incorrectly used to describe just about every freaking band under the sun. Your remember the word? It was alternative.(The grammys still use this word which is further proof that they exist somewhere around the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.) Anyway, if you want to use that word, then use it here. "Gallowsbird.." is a cacophony of melodies, rhythms, and odd noises that somehow manages to be quite catchy at times, and brilliant at others. Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger make up the Furnaces. They are a brother/sister duo, and you have to believe that therein lies the secret to there ridiculously unique sound. It's probably been a product of years of experimentation. They use a number of combinations of instruments and influences to create some very unique and challenging music. I've listened to the album four times, and it gets better eevry time I hear it. The album hits it's stride on the terrific "Up in the North", which is catchier than bird flu. The track features some great piano, and is carried by Eleanor's distinctive vocals. It is impossible to dislike this song. The funky "Asthma Attack" is similarly infectious. The guitar and bass are stellar on "Asthma", which they are throughout the album. "Don't Dance her Down" is more of a traditional rock song (at least for these two it is) but just as good.Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Fiery Furnaces seem to be the new king (and queen) of enigmatic, larger-than-life indie rock. While their second album was the one that got things moving, their debut "Gallowsbird's Bark" gained them a reputation for rich music and strange, dreamy writing.

Siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger open things with the jangly, cascading pop of "South Is Only A Home" -- it's a fun little tune, but a bit chaotic-sounding. It's only in the third song, "Leaky Tunnel," that the album kicks into high gear, with banjo and electric guitar, overlaid with sparkling piano and rapid-fire percussion. Then you know that these two are something special.

Dipping into alt-country in places, the Furnaces mostly focus on trippy rock songs and catchy oddball pop songs. There's an out-and-out rocker in "Asthma Attack," a sprawling experimental stretch in "Crystal Clear," and they even try a bluesy acoustic song in "Bright Blue Tie," which only has a few flickery synth bits in the background.

Sparkly, tinkly piano, folky, dreamy, trippy, rock'n'roll and psychedelic music-hall. Those are only a few of the things that come to mind when listening to "Gallowsbird's Park." There's something oddly childlike and dreamy about this music, despite songs about how "if men and wine don't kill me." Perhaps it's the fact that their music has so many facets.

The sole problem seems to be, oddly enough, restraint. The Fiery Furnaces are not now known for their musical restraint, but in this album they seem to be damming up their larger-than-life talents. But even dammed-up, their catchy, complex blend of guitar rock, banjo, and rippling piano is intoxicating, as is the oddball additions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
this is as quirky, fun, musical, & adventurous as anything i've heard this year...with bits of pretty much every musical style thrown in, from punk to ragtime to blues. lyrical and intense, you'll find yourself humming the tunes long after, especially my favorites "two fat feet" "up in the north" "inca rag/name game" and "tropical ice-land"
a previous reviewer singled out the female vocalist as untalented, which i'll argue is unfair and unwarranted. her phrasing isn't non-existent, it's unique: here as staccato, there a soft croon, and yes, sometimes a howl or a yelp as punctuation. the comparison of amy lee from evanescence says it all: if you like that bombast and overdone production, no, this isn't an album for you. If you are into off-beat hooks, poetic turns of phrase, or musical daring, well, here it is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Holmes on October 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
to call this band "prolific" would be the understatment of the year. to call them "quirky" would be the understatement of the century. the Fiery Furnaces are the brother and siter duo of Matthew and Eleanor Friedburger...yes, they come from New York; and that's about where all the hipster comparisons end. the Fiery Furnaces take all the raggedy blues, honkey tonk, folk and rootsy rock 'n' roll that they've digested since childhood, and throw it back out in a unique sound that is both unsettling and charming. this is really peculiar pop music that probably alienates the average indie rock fan; but yet feels natural in it's execution.

when i first heard this album, i simply did not get it. it confounded me. but i latched onto a few of the songs instantly such as the delightful "Up In The North" and the playful "Tropical Ice-Land." i kept the cd on my shelf for a while and eventually kept getting drawn back into it to explore these strange songs more and more. it's a bit like walking into a bar and seeing some kind of pirate hobo sitting there telling his old war stories. and once you get accustomed to the character, you can relax and enjoy his tales.

The Fiery Furnaces know how to write a catchy song. but they also know how to throw the listener a million curveballs at every chance they get. and even though these curveballs are tossed with class and charm, i still can't help but think that some restraint would be helpful in shaping up their sound. but then again...that could run the risk of depleting some of their charm. nonetheless, with 16 tracks on this cd, it gets exhausting in the end.
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