Postcards from Greece
There are plenty of good vibes found on the new record Rebound by American singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger. Upon playing the first track, she makes it clear to fans that they are in for an enjoyable listen. Best known for being one half of the indie rock duo The Fiery Furnaces, Friedberger has released several solo albums since the band went on hiatus in 2011. Her last album New View in 2016 won her critical praise. Her knack for writing simple pop gems is evident on Rebound. The album feels like both an escape and a process of self-examination at the same time.
Friedberger composed the record after being inspired by a trip to Greece. It was after the 2016 elections and the need for a getaway spurred her into creating the upbeat as well as cathartic music. A discotheque in Athens, for which the album is named after, offered Friedberger a taste of ‘80s pop-rock. Those classic sounds found their way into the new record as well as more gothic vibes from influences such as The Cure or Joy Division. Overall, her knowledge of that time period in music is shown and captured in the synth textures and punchy drum machines. Rebound’s sunny feel translates through Friedberger’s catchy hooks and the lively guitar playing.
Friedberger sets the pace early as the track “Everything” grabs a rolling beat and pairs it with Friedberger’s easy-going conversational singing. The song was inspired by a friend whom she references in the verse, “She could dream up a life with anything/A man in Greece, a girlfriend in Italy.” It describes the pursuit of, as Friedberger puts it, “wanting to have it all, and how that’s ridiculous.” Halfway through the track, a dissonant chord progression emerges beneath Friedberger’s melodies that throw the piece into a darker, more experimental state.
“Make Me A Song” perfects the ‘80s pop aesthetic with a light-hearted jam of jangly guitars. It’s a happy-go-lucky feel reminiscent of the 1983 hit “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” from British band Naked Eyes. Friedberger was aiming for a universal message in the lyrics. She said of the track, “In light of the world today, I really did want to write a song that everyone could get behind.”
Rebound is filled out by a few slower tracks such as “Nice To Be Nowhere” and “It’s Hard.” The former is a straightforward piano ballad accompanied by a listless drum loop. Not completely compelling with some simple romantic lyrics. “It’s Hard” would be unmemorable if it were not for the funky, alternating guitar lines.
It seems like a lot of indie rockers are pulling from the electro-pop sound of the ’80s, Friedberger proves there’s nothing completely new under the sun. Still, she brings to the table some easily digestible tunes and taste of her quirky personality.