Release Date: May 4, 2018
Record label: Frenchkiss Records
Eleanor Friedberger is making steady progress inward. Over the course of three strong solo albums, she has interrogated her emotions and experiences with a focus so sharp that her insistent self-examination has become an act of sociology more than narcissism. In Friedberger's relentless investigations of her day-to-day existence, listeners can recognize themselves, their friends, and the particulars of their own lives.
We have all been there, one way or another. It’s late at night, and you start thinking that coming to this club may not have been the best idea, when the adrenaline hits you. Before your brain even registers hearing the song, you’re on the dancefloor, reinvigorated, transformed. It’s the freedom of bouncing around strangers, the rush of shouting the lyrics to a song you half remember sober but whose chorus has that one line that precisely describes your current emotional state.
Sometimes a night out can be more than just a night out. It can be an eye-opener, a resetter, a life-saver. In the aftermath of the 2016 US election, Eleanor Friedberger decamped to Athens, intending to write her fourth solo album there. It wasn’t until a night out at an ’80s goth disco whose doors only opened in the small hours one night a week that she found the inspiration she needed to begin work.
When something goes wrong and you find yourself cast adrift or in a new, unfamiliar position, you might find yourself rebounding to find a similar level of comfort as was once there, often during an undefined period after a break-up. During the political turmoil of November 2016, anyone could have been forgiven for trying to find a form of political rebound, a way of making it back to square one. As many in the United States became ever more politically active, Eleanor Friedberger found herself in the centre of Athens, a city where protest is not uncommon.
That accusation can't be levelled at Eleanor Friedberger this time out. Her last solo album, the sumptuous New View, continued in the same vein as the rest of her post-Fiery Furnaces output; tried-and-true indie rock, inflected with folk and infused with melancholy. Rebound is another prospect entirely - it's a vibrant and varied exercise in electro-pop, in a varied manner that only occasionally comes across as scattershot.
Eleanor Friedberger's new record was heralded by a bewildering (if somewhat enamouring) press kit. It's quite a piece of work: amongst other things, there are references to Baltic discos, ’80s Euro-dance living tans Modern Talking and cooler names like Yellow Magic Orchestra and Suicide. Thankfully, the album itself is a much more straightforward proposition, full of smooth, chiming new wave guitars playing out against slightly spacey synth backdrops and programmed percussion.
"Let me forget the words." That's the wish that opens Eleanor Friedberger's fourth studio album, "Rebound" (Frenchkiss). The album loosely chronicles a journey into the singer's ancestral past in Greece, where she went to forget herself and a world that was taking a turn for the worse. She emerged from her hiatus with a new sound and a renewed perspective.