• Record Label: Merge
  • Release Date: Jul 12, 2011

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
Buy On
  1. Dec 5, 2011
    While Last Summer has enough ties to her work with the Fiery Furnaces to please fans, it gives Friedberger the time in the spotlight she deserves.
  2. Alternative Press
    Jul 8, 2011
    Frustrated longtime followers will love that the XX-chromosome half of the brother-sister duo plays it mostly straightforward on her totally charming, engagingly breezy solo debut. [Aug 2011, p.114]
  3. Nov 17, 2011
    Thanks to her breezy bohemian charms, even its knottier moments start to unravel with repeated listens.
  4. I remember how the Fiery Furnaces are always willing to take chances with their music; I wish Eleanor Friedberger had done the same on Last Summer. Instead, she plays it safe, weaving interesting tales to the tune of surprisingly average music. That's fine, but playing it safe rarely makes for a good story.
  5. Aug 3, 2011
    The most conspicuous element of Last Summer is the simplicity of the music.
  6. Jul 12, 2011
    It's casual and compelling, the work of a musician who simply wanted to record some songs on her own terms.
  7. Jul 15, 2011
    Last Summer sees Friedberger stretching her limbs as a three-dimensional indie darling.
  8. Aug 8, 2011
    Last Summer is a difficult album to describe because it's made up entirely of these kinds of small moments, gliding gracefully from memory to memory, place to place, like an inside joke stretched into a one-act play.
  9. 80
    Friedberger has a way of nearly speaking her vocals. With Last Summer, this works to her advantage.
  10. Nov 21, 2011
    Its incoherence might prove a bit frustrating, but Eleanor has proved that she can do perfectly well away from her sibling.
  11. Jul 11, 2011
    It's like Fiery Furnaces with more heart and less irony...and that's not a bad thing at all.
  12. Entertainment Weekly
    Jul 15, 2011
    Summer could use more hooks, but who else is writing about Owl's Head park? [22 Jul 2011, p.73]
  13. Jul 12, 2011
    For all her internal chaos, Friedberger's debut is a concise, considerate effort.
  14. Mojo
    Jan 10, 2012
    Wonky, wordy, connective - a Tapestry for the Williamsburg set.[Dec. 2011, p.93]
  15. Nov 15, 2011
    Last Summer pulls off the impressive feat of being luxuriantly listenable while retaining Friedberger's avant-garde roots.
  16. 80
    It's still wordier than a second-hand bookshop and the screwy mental tics remain. But it's also one of the most heart-lassoing '70s radio-pop records since the death of flares, its psychedelic oddness leavened with big gnarly hooks, the emotional thwack of a shattered heart and intimate and bloodied narratives.
  17. Jul 8, 2011
    It sounds at once old-fashioned and contemporary, undemanding but clever – a joy.
  18. Jul 12, 2011
    Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Friedberger's solo endeavor will rest in separating herself from the past nine LPs she's released with her brother, but Last Summer succeeds on its own, casting a softer light on the singer's chaotic image.
  19. Jul 12, 2011
    From an artist whose mind and appetites have always ranged so freely, such a cohesive, uncluttered document is doubly revealing.
  20. Jul 11, 2011
    With Last Summer, she more than makes good on that promise and provides this summer with one of its most satisfying releases.
  21. Q Magazine
    Dec 22, 2011
    The highlights are outweighed by tracks such as Glitter Gold Year, a half-formed sketch of jabbing bass and meandering riffs. [Jan. 2012 p. 120]
  22. Jul 11, 2011
    Friedberger's debut may not be as brilliant, but it goes about depicting summer in New York in a similarly organic fashion, casting a city full of mysterious old men and rambunctious kids on the F train.
  23. Jul 8, 2011
    There are expected blips of Fiery playfulness -- pinballing "bop bop" vocals, backward-masked beats -- but this is as straightforwardly evocative as abstract pop gets, with the hazy beauty and fractured narratives of a vintage Polaroid slide show.
  24. Jul 11, 2011
    It straddles that difficult line between accessible and adventurous, making for a fine stopgap between Fiery Furnaces records and an excellent summer album regardless of the year.
  25. Jul 12, 2011
    On Last Summer, Friedberger shows that her compositional voice is equally compelling when she's freed from her brother's watchful eye.
  26. Jan 3, 2012
    As a singer she remains as wayward as ever, her velvety voice, so urgent and melancholy in its expression, rendering even the most nakedly autobiographical lyrics here impenetrably opaque.
  27. Jul 14, 2011
    Last Summer sounds good; next summer could be even better.
  28. Uncut
    Jul 28, 2011
    That old adage about the quiet ones hold true for Elanor, whose debut capitalizes on I'm Going Away's fleeting ease. [Aug 2011, p.87]
  29. Jul 26, 2011
    For fans clamoring for fresh Fiery Furnaces material, they could do a lot worse than Last Summer, an appealing seasonal affair that's as inviting as a cool breeze.
  30. Jul 13, 2011
    There's not much screaming on Last Summer. Like I'm Going Away, it's a basic, modest studio-rock record, the kind common in the '70s, with flavorful detours reminiscent of that era.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jan 6, 2012
    I love this album I love Eleanor's voice and delivery I didn't buy this album when it first came out because I couldn't make head nor tailsI love this album I love Eleanor's voice and delivery I didn't buy this album when it first came out because I couldn't make head nor tails out of the reviews I read They seemed to be positive without actually being positive if that makes any sense at all Bought it because I noticed it on several end of year lists So happy I did!! An extremely pleasant way to spend forty minutes! Catchy melodies interesting stories wonderful rhythms Perhaps to a certain extent the fact that it is low key prevented reviewers from feeling the gush necessary to giving it a sparkling review I have no such qualms It's like a garment one purchases that fits so well both physically and psychically one can't imagine how one had lived without it My only complaint would be that a few tracks seem to end to quickly I wish they had been given a little more instrumental workout especially the closing track "Early Earthquake" or maybe I just hate for the cd to end Full Review »
  2. Oct 26, 2011
    This is the Pauls Boutique of the 2011. This album is not getting nearly enough attention, but over time I think it will garner more praise.This is the Pauls Boutique of the 2011. This album is not getting nearly enough attention, but over time I think it will garner more praise. Its goodness is subtle. The songs are amazing, the production is smart, warm without being too slick. Its got a real 70's vibe without trying to be overtly retro. The music and lyrics are perfectly matched. A perfect balance between the ironic and the earnest. Its a coherent album that plays very much as an album, but yet has the obvious singles (Roosevelt Island, My Mistakes). Eleanor makes indie funk and AM GOLD without it being ironic. That's pretty amazing, and the songs are narrative, not stories per se, but interesting enough for you to want ot listen and make out the lyrics. Full Review »