Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger have never been afraid to lay it on thick, whether they're cramming multiple melodic conceits into a single song, spinning fantastical narratives within fantastical narratives, or recruiting their 82-year-old grandmother as lead vocalist for a concept album about her life. But on the recent Bitter Tea (Fat Possum) the duo's daring has finally gotten them into trouble. Recorded at the same time as Rehearsing My Choir (the aforementioned concept record) it's a terrific collection: gorgeous melodies twist and detour, rarely lingering for long, and the circuitous lyrics, packed with details that situate the songs in time and place, are sung with elegance and style. But the production and instrumentation, handled almost entirely by Matthew, clobber the whole thing. Here's hoping the Friedbergers get over their fascination with backward vocals and shrill synthesizers and get back to old-fashioned guitar, drums, piano, and organ when they play the songs live. Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and Office open. This show is part of MOBfest; for a complete schedule see page 30. Sat 6/24, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $18.50, 18+.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Lavine.