In the music, you will hear the casual confrontation of the most emotionally direct Fiery Furnaces songs, plus a lot of snap, crackle and pop. In fact, in these songs made of memories, you will hear the future. Sparks, Donovan, Procol Harum, Kath Bloom, Lô Borges and Todd Rundgren too. Friedberger’s phrasing is as good as anyone’s; even better, when the line’s over and most other singers would leave it right there, she’ll throw in an unnecessary extra syllable—a “yuh” or an “er,” even an “oh oh.” It’s like she hates silence. “Eleanor Friedberger’s music improves on silence”: there’s your headline.
With Last Summer, Eleanor Friedberger may well be telling us about last summer, or various last summers, or even—WATCH OUT!—the last summer there will ever be. . . One thing is certain: she’s playing a long game. Welcome to Level One.