Eleanor Friedberger, Icewater, Coins | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Eleanor Friedberger, Icewater, Coins Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Feb. 24, 9 p.m. 2016

On her third and best solo album, New View (Frenchkiss), singer Eleanor Friedberger has pulled away even more from the breathless convolution of her old band Fiery Furnaces. Her new songs are direct hits, surrounded by lovely arrangements that draw upon a variety of 70s-rock antecedents like George Harrison or Bob Dylan, and they get their character from a plainspoken delivery. On “Open Season” she addresses an ex-lover who is now separated by some great distance, and her lyrics read as though they come from a letter—she inquires about a new movie before unspooling a series of reveries about their shared past and what it means at present. The track’s ambling groove and lovely meandering lead guitar perfectly suit phrasing that begins with hushed introspection but grows more forceful as details become more personal. She lays her feelings out in the open on “Because I Asked You” with a litany of gestures that show a romance growing into love, while on “Roosevelt Island” she narrates a day of spontaneity hour by hour—featuring an epic series of verses that recalls vintage Dylan—as wonderfully scrappy guitar solos give her chances to catch her breath. Friedberger doesn’t possess an especially powerful voice, but she’s so comfortable with it that she’s one of my favorite singers—her conversational phrasing drops hooks in spite of itself.

Peter Margasak

Price: $15, $13 in advance

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