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Watching Eleanor Friedberger transform herself from indie-rock / psychedelic-pop star as one-half of Fiery Furnaces to one of indie-folk’s rising stars has been nothing short of fascinating. She could have traveled down the rock path to being the next Kim Gordon but instead she’s becoming this generation’s Joni Mitchell. Her third solo album, New View, only builds the case in favor of Friedberger.
New View is a dazzling album. Like Mitchell, there’s an underlying optimism heard in Friedberger’s voice no matter how tepid or hurtful the experience she recalls. It’s a frame This is best evidenced by the companion tracks “Does The Turquoise Work?” and “Long Walk”, which close the album. Here, Friedberger masterfully describes a time of deception and mistakes before moving on. There is even a bit of a Dylan vibe, where the folk legend’s descriptive, quirky lyrical style is replicated.
But it is on the Mitchell-esque folk-rock tunes where Friedberger’s talents shines through, such as “He Didn’t Mention His Mother” and “Open Season”. The former is like a wave of emotions that gently and coolly washes over the listener while the latter intoxicates with Friedberger’s stunning alto interspersed with well-timed, midtempo guitar solos. “Sweetest Girl”, the highlight of the album, is little bit more of a rocker than the other tracks with a touch of angst in Friedberger’s voice. It’s one that will rip your heart out when heard live while “Your Word” offers the perfect complement with its vibrant, midtempo pace and soothing approach.
Fifteen years ago, comparing Eleanor Friedberger to Joni Mitchell likely wasn’t considered or even on the radar screen. Yet with the passage of time, we’ve witnessed a near complete transformation of an artist who with New View has entered a new phase in her career – one where she is quickly being recognized as one of music’s great singer-songwriters.
Friedberger will be heading out on an extensive tour beginning in early February in the UK before heading back to the US. Check tour dates on her Facebook page.
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