Until this year, being a Fiery Furnaces fan meant that one had an especially high tolerance for cracked musical-theatre narratives, live revisionism, and wonky, disjointed melodic abuse. With new album I'm Going Away, an appreciation for those elements isn't entirely necessary, as siblings/bandmates Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger opt to play their word-drunk, kitchen-sink blooze straight here. These are breakup songs drawn from Eleanor's actual experiences, and Matthew leashes or quashes his tendency to overdub guitar flare-ups as much as his sister keeps her vignettes rooted in cruel reality. Take, for example, the self-as-abject-stranger barroom rush of "Lost at Sea," which spends a few expository minutes laying out its dolor and unleashing trampolined piano splashes before spazzing into an extended, jam-session outro that essentially underlines the heroine's sense of confusion. The Furnaces have more than earned the right to turn reflective, and in doing so, they may have furnished their best album yet. But if Away proves too much of a bummer, dig on the killer openers: comedic folkie Dent May and crepe-sweet avant-rockers Cryptacize.
Sat., Nov. 14, 8 p.m., 2009