Thank God Fiery Furnaces siblings Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger were never married. Lord knows they've got enough in common with the White Stripes. A dose of creepy pseudo-incest would just be too much to bear, although I'm sure plenty of indie kids would love it if Eleanor's — or a lookalike's — private stash of unfortunately videotaped sexcapades were mysteriously posted to YouTube. Jack and Meg parallels notwithstanding, Fiery Furnaces have managed to forge a unique musical identity in a genre increasingly defined by homogeneity. Not content to stick with the basic pop-inflected garage stomp formula popularized by their Detroit cousins, the Furnaces have challenged themselves and their audience with every new release, from 2003's charmingly eclectic Gallowsbird's Bark to the Joyceian narrative of 2005's Rehearsing My Choir. Their most recent release, last year's Widow City, finds the band paying homage to the '70s rock canon, displaying a closer affinity to Pink Floyd than the Stooges. While many of their contemporaries find a fan-base through formulaic repetition, Fiery Furnaces choose to let theirs chase them through flights of fancy, never quite able to pin them down.
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