Review: ‘In Between Stars’ by Eleanor Friedberger
Eleanor Friedberger has quietly become one of the most formidable songwriters in modern rock. Since the early 2000s, she has been associated with the Fiery Furnaces, her wildly careening Brooklyn-via-Chicago band with her brother Matthew. But since releasing her solo debut in 2011, she has rendered reunion questions moot (at least for now) with disarming, introspective songs in more of a 1970s folk-pop mode. Her most recent album, 2016’s New View, was mostly recorded at an L.A. studio, but it was inspired by a move to upstate New York, and her work with a full band brought the ragged glory of Neil Young to elliptically conversational songs like “Open Season.”
“In Between Stars,” the first single from Friedberger’s upcoming fourth solo album, Rebound, finds her still in motion, still rewarding patience, and still as coolly poised as ever. After New View, she spent time in her ancestral Greece, and the album title refers to an Athens nightclub she describes as an “’80s goth disco.” Like her past solo songs, this one feels at once intimate and somewhat mysterious. Ditching the band to record mostly by herself, she floats her golden alto in a whirr of gleaming synths, crisp drum programming, and busy guitars, speaking in evocative but ambiguous metaphors. She was the salt between stars, she confides in these lyrics; she was supporting the sky on her shoulder. In soft sections like the closing seconds, her lyrics are more straightforward: “I don’t know how I’ve come to see the world exclusively through your eyes/Everything I buy and eat and do with you in mind.” It’s still worth seeing the world for awhile through her view.