February 22nd, 2006 2:28pm
I’m An Ice Skater’s Bruised Knees
The Fiery Furnaces “Police Sweater Blood Vow” – Since they are the sort of band that clearly takes a lot of glee in messing with their audience’s expectations, I was a bit nervous that the Fiery Furnaces would do something to mess up the studio recording of this song, which I had fallen in love with on the strength of the acoustic KEXP session version posted on this site last spring. Though there’s a bit of overdub overkill as the song progresses, this Bitter Tea arrangement basically plays it straight as a jaunty Dylan-esque singalong, placing the emphasis firmly on the melody and the lyrics. It’s an amazing, highly accesable song, and surely the sort of thing that will win back listeners put off by the bizarre excesses of Rehearsing My Choir.
In addition to its relatively normal arrangement, “Police Sweater Blood Vow” also rates as being one of the most easily relatable songs in the Furnaces catalog with its frank, straightforward lyrics about the troubles of a long distance relationship. On the verses, Eleanor sings several lines about memories and places that are so specific that they seem dense and cryptic, but the lines that dig in deepest are the most obvious and matter-of-fact: “It’s only you who effects me,” sounding more like a diagnosis than a confession. “That’s not right babe, you’re here and I’m there,” the words falling flat from futility. “Tell me, babe, what time is it now?,” muttered on a cell phone to a person in some far-off time zone. (Click here for the official Fiery Furnaces website.)