“Blueberry Boat” by The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces were a polarizing Indie Pop band from the depths of the Twee Pop era. This song, the title track and centerpiece of the album that most of their fans regard as their magnum opus, is one of the most ridiculous Indie Rock tracks this author has ever encountered. Between an ostentatiously complex multi-part structure, bizarre-sounding keyboard instrumentation, and an absurd narrative about pirates hijacking a ship transporting a cargo of blueberries (hence the title), this is exactly the kind of thing that gets Indie Rock and its accompanying subculture made fun of so often. I’ve heard it compared to the “Wagner-Rock” style of acts like Queen and Jim Steinman, but that genre generally used grand, sweeping music to accompany its mock-Operatic silliness, not the kind of rinky-dink Indie Pop on display here. Also, say what you will about Steinman, but at least it sounded like he was writing for an audience. This song, on the other hand, sounds like its authors were far too convinced of their own supposed genius and didn’t really care if anyone actually enjoyed the final product. Granted, if you really are a genius, that approach can result in great things (as several of the great Classical composers demonstrate), but in most cases it’s more likely to produce self-indulgent nonsense, and I’m afraid that’s all this band’s output amounts to.

Verdict: I’m sorry, but this is just not interesting enough to justify its extreme level of self-indulgence.

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