With impossibly ornate compositions and unwieldy titles that give Sufjan Stevens a run for his money, Matthew Friedberger, both as a solo artist and one half of the critically acclaimed indie darlings Fiery Furnaces, often makes music that has the feel of pretentious art-pop but the soul of the most rewarding fiction. Difficult to digest with a single listen, Friedberger’s work demands patience and time, holding you hostage until its ideas have made their mark. Functioning as a sort of stopgap release until the next Fiery Furnaces album, Winter Women/Holy Ghost Language School is not one but two discs of overstuffed, densely produced pop madness. Friedberger is billing Winter Women as the “pop” record, while Holy Ghost Language School is the “rock opera” affair; one can only imagine what The Who would have done with the tale of Scot Dombrowski, a businessman whose school teaches foreign tongues for doing business (naturally) in China. For those hoping for a leg up with the liner notes, best of luck: Friedberger placed songs in no discernible order, which makes tracing the story’s through line all the more daunting. Nevertheless, this twofer is a bracing, willfully odd delight that rewards the patient and frustrates the short-fused; Friedberger doesn’t made music for everyone, but for anyone who hungers for something different.
- Release Date
- August 7, 2006
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