Eleanor Friedberger - Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Sat 31 Aug 2013
The sometime Fiery Furnace exercises an array of styles and delicately drawn emotional resonances
The point in the midst of ‘Roosevelt Island’s squelching funk, where the line ‘it always kicks in’, er, kicks in, is where resistance becomes futile, for anyone of a mind to offer it. Sometime Fiery Furnace Eleanor Friedberger isn’t even here with her own band, having enlisted a group of ‘people from the northwest of England’ (ie members of Field Music, Hyde and Beast and The Cornshed Sisters) to play with her for this week only, but you can’t hear the join. ‘Do you know their names?’ shouts an individual with a sense of humour, yet it seems like they’ve been playing together for a lot longer than a few days.
Friedberger, the Illinois-born owner of one of rock’s greatest fringes, is two albums into a solo career of depth and quality, and over a bit more than an hour here she exercises an array of styles and delicately drawn emotional resonances, from the lively pub rock of ‘Tomorrow Tomorrow’ to the sparse, two-timed waltz of ‘Other Boys’ and the sharply evocative romance of ‘When I Knew’. As the closing ‘My Mistakes’ grinds to a halt she leaves the stage and strides through the audience, trailing quiet but deserved triumph in her wake.