Winter Women & Holy Ghost Language School
Top Customer Reviews
I was one of the weird people who loved "Rehearsing My Choir." Everything about it was perfect, from the Shatner-aspiring grandmother, to the repeating musical motifs... everything. So naturally I definitely find "Holy Ghost Language School" to be them more interesting of the two albums Friedberger has presented us. "HGLS" is definitely the more expirimental of the two albums, complete with vague lyrical storyline (or focus) and Friedberger spoken word. Rather than just being a subpar "Rehearsing My Choir" it is similar only for comparrison's sake. It has it's own identity and has it's own unique features, both musically and compositionally.
"Winter Woman" on the other hand is billed as Friedberger's pop album. The fact that people actually took him seriously and expected Michael Jackson or something is really funny. Critics and consumers should be aware by now that what the Friedbergers consider "pop" and what the rest of the world considers "pop" are two vastly different things. Thus it is no surprise when "Winter Woman" spins in familiar Fiery Furnace territory. The songs are nice, though don't particularly tread new ground.
So five stars for "Holy Ghost..." and three for "Winter Woman" averages into a nice four stars.
Well, I don't think Matt is going to win over any new fans with this, and people who are new to the Fiery Furnaces would do well to start with something else (see: "EP" or "Gallowsbird's Bark")... so Ill review this from the standpoint of someone who already appreciates them.
The production value on Winter Women is weird... sort of muffled, and the vocals just seem too low in the mix. But it starts to make sense after a while. To me this is headphones music, plain and simple. It's the perfect headphones music, because there is so much to discover, and yet it doesn't require your full undivided attention, so you can listen to it while you work and discover it at your own pace. There definitely are some wonderfully weird "pop" moments mixed into Winter Women. It'll hit you in the gut every so often. And although it's over an hour in length, it floats by smoothly and doesn't overstay its welcome (whereas I think that "Blueberry Boat" kind of does).
Then there is "Holy Ghost Language" school. So yeah, I guess it's a bit more experimental, but it also has a more crisp production and some genuinely rocking moments, so it's a good contrast. Of the two albums, this one is also more of a departure from standard Fiery Furnaces fare, in a good way. Whereas you'll recognize some of the tricks on "Winter Women", this one seems more fresh and new, and it's great to see how many tricks this dude still has up his sleave.Read more ›
But he shines in his "Winter Women/Holy Ghost Language," the first album made without his sister Eleanor. The two-disc set could have used a bit of pruning, but Friedberger is in his element with strange lyrics and tripped out, blipped out piano music that sounds like the mad cousin of the Fiery Furnaces. Which, in a way, it is.
"Winter Women" is a more "typical" rock album, with a sort of country-folk flavour. It opens with the thunderous synth, cymbals and ripply keyboard of "Under The Hood At Paradise Garage," which rattles into a solid little pop tune that sounds like it's having a psychedelic line dance. Well, what could you expect? Normality?
He follows it up with a solid round of indie-rock songs: guitar pop with violins and synth, accordion rock, cheery little pop tunes, swoopy keyboard melodies, percussion pop with rippling keyboard and flute, music-hall piano with gongs, and gothic keyboard tunes that blossom out into catchy synthpop.
"Normal" Friedberger is enough to make most people dizzy. But he lets loose in "Holy Ghost Language": it opens with a sizzling guitar riff, which slowly descends into a chaos of dancy keyboard and thunderous piano. The lyrics get even stranger: "And he thumbed home the good news/blessing/grace/wisdom from on high/notion, And off it went happily into the ether.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Winter Women & Holy Ghost Language School features more disjointed music very similar to his Fiery Furnaces stuff. Read morePublished on August 24, 2011 by DW
Having listened to some Fiery Furnaces, I must say that I hope Matthew goes it alone from now on. This is great melodic quirky stuff that gets better and better with the... Read morePublished on August 21, 2007 by Vance