On Widow City
, the Fiery Furnaces
continue to assume the role of the 21st-century Sparks a pair of siblings creating keyboard-based, time-shifting pop songs with inscrutable lyrics and entrancing (if sometimes off-putting) hooks. Songwriter and pianist Matthew Friedberger still feeds his alliterative, globe-trotting fever dreams through the voice of his sister Eleanor, although City
features a touch more '60s psychedelia, a welcome change from the '70s prog wankery that made last year's Bitter Tea
unlistenable. Matthew's use of the Chamberlain keyboard (a precursor to the Mellotron) gives the album a rich, grainy texture, while its wheezy tape samples sound like lost transmissions from a haunted transistor radio. Fellow Chicago natives (and Thrill Jockey labelmates) Pit Er Pat
open the show with more piano-led tomfoolery, although theirs contain a bit more rhythmic art-rock muscle.