Few bands have endured a critical backlash as severe as the one experienced by the Fiery Furnaces
. Backlash seems too tame a term for it, even; call it critical whiplash. After heaping praise and year-end awards on the Furnaces' 2004 kaleidoscopic prog epic, Blueberry Boat
, critics everywhere salivated into their Van Dykes, pondering how to capture the awfulness of last year's Rehearsing My Choir
, a meditation on death featuring the spoken-word stylings of principal Furnaces Matt and Eleanor Friedberger's grandmother. Fortunately, '05 also saw the release of EP
, a fabulous, album-length singles collection. Listen to "Here Comes the Summer" or "Evergreen," and snap your head back in wonder again: Who but the Fiery Furnaces can make your synapses fire and your booty shake at the same time?