Blueberry Boat

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Blueberry Boat
The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat.png
Studio album by The Fiery Furnaces
Released July 13, 2004
Recorded 2004
Length 76:09
Label Rough Trade
Producer Matthew Friedberger, Nicolas Vernhes
The Fiery Furnaces chronology
Gallowsbird's Bark
Blueberry Boat

Blueberry Boat is the second album by American indie rock band The Fiery Furnaces. It was released on July 13, 2004, just over ten months following their debut album, Gallowsbird's Bark. Blueberry Boat polarized music critics due to its long, complex songs and esoteric lyrics.

Music and lyrics[edit]

More than twenty different instruments were used in the creation of this album, including the sitar, which was substituted for guitar on some songs. Keyboards, guitars, and drums are the main instruments used. As with all Fiery Furnaces releases, Eleanor Friedberger provides most of the vocals, with her brother Matt adding to a few songs. Matt is considered the main instrumentalist for the band, while both Friedbergers share lyrical duties. The album is more structurally complex than the band's debut, Gallowsbird's Bark, and most of the songs have distinct movements that sound like multiple songs combined.[1]

The song "Straight Street" references the biblical "street called straight" in Damascus. "1917" features references to the 1917 World Series, the most recent series that the Chicago White Sox had won at the point this album was released.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 70/100[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Blender 2/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly A−[4]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[5]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[6]
NME 1/10[7]
Pitchfork Media 9.6/10[8]
Q 4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[10]
Spin C[11]

Blueberry Boat garnered polarized but generally positive reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 70, which indicates "generally positive reviews," based on 34 reviews.[2] In a rave review, Chris Dahlen of Pitchfork Media described Blueberry Boat as "a record for the overgrown part of our brain that craves engrossing complexity".[8] Heather Phares of AllMusic wrote that the album "can be appreciated in the same way you would a puzzle box with intricate, endlessly shifting parts: you can spend a lot of time trying to unlock (or describe) its riddles, or just enjoy the artfulness behind them."[8]

Writing for The Guardian, Dave Pleschek found Blueberry Boat's lyrics and song structures to be overly "obtuse" and stated that the Friedbergers "will try anything but don't know when to stop", calling the album a "a crashing disappointment".[5] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice gave the album a "dud" rating,[12] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought."[13] The NME panned the album as "toe-curlingly unlistenable."[7]

Pitchfork placed Blueberry Boat at number 145 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s.[14]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Quay Cur" 10:25
2. "Straight Street" 5:00
3. "Blueberry Boat" 9:09
4. "Chris Michaels" 7:53
5. "Paw Paw Tree" 4:39
6. "My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found" 3:29
7. "Mason City" 8:14
8. "Chief Inspector Blancheflower" 8:58
9. "Spaniolated" 3:21
10. "1917" 4:52
11. "Birdie Brain" 3:05
12. "Turning Round" 2:13
13. "Wolf Notes" 4:51
Total length: 76:09


The Fiery Furnaces
  • Eleanor Friedberger – performance
  • Matthew Friedberger – performance, production
  • The Fiery Furnaces – packaging
Additional personnel
  • Samara Lubelski – violin, engineering, mixing
  • David Muller – drums (3, 4, 7)
  • Emily Scholnick – artwork
  • Nicolas Vernhes – engineering, mixing, computer editing, drums (2, 4, 13)


  1. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Blueberry Boat – The Fiery Furnaces". AllMusic. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Reviews for Blueberry Boat by The Fiery Furnaces". Metacritic. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ Catucci, Nick (August 2004). "The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat". Blender (28): 131. Archived from the original on May 16, 2006. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ Tucker, Ken (July 30, 2004). "Blueberry Boat". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Pleschek, Dave (September 3, 2004). "The Fiery Furnaces, Blueberry Boat". The Guardian. London. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hochman, Steve (August 22, 2004). "Furnaces' introspection stands up to inspection". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Rob (September 4, 2004). "The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat (Rough Trade)". NME: 73. 
  8. ^ a b c Dahlen, Chris (July 13, 2004). "The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat". Q (218): 120. September 2004. 
  10. ^ Hoard, Christian (September 22, 2004). "The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Breakdown". Spin. 20 (8): 108. August 2004. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 14, 2004). "Consumer Guide: Inter-Century Freundschaft". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  14. ^ Pitchfork staff (September 28, 2009). "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 

External links[edit]