Rehearsing My Choir - The Fiery Furnaces

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 5 out of 25
  1. As exhausting as it is brilliant. [Dec 2005, p.202]
  2. The Fiery Furnaces have delivered another great American novel via guitars, drums, bells, and whistles.
  3. 91
    Whether Eleanor echoes her grandmother or provides a less mature counterpoint, her gravity melds with Sarantos' gusto for a dissonance that's never entirely discordant. [Nov 2005, p.100]
  4. 80
    As unique and poignant as a family bible. [Nov 2005, p.104]
  5. 80
    If last year's engrossing, infuriating Blueberry Boat revealed the Friedbergers as a uniquely strange and perversely ambitious proposition, Rehearsing My Choir, remarkably, trumps it, striking a chord of real feeling alongside the pell-mell fabulation. [Dec 2005, p.110]
  6. An astonishing concept-album full of humour, tenderness and life-affirming spirit.
  7. The flickering narrative works to pull ears closer to the band's most wowing musical offering to date.
  8. The album is no less a triumph as it is a fantastic future family heirloom. That said, Rehearsing might test the patience of even longtime fans. [#11, p.106]
  9. The album cements the band as a love-them-or-hate-them proposition, but the Fiery Furnaces remain true to themselves.
  10. The twosome's sincere kitchen-sink music and lyrical pathos mean the tales of Chicago life unravel like a good Paul Auster novel. [Dec 2005, p.150]
  11. These prose-stuffed metasongs require concentrated listening. But the rewards are rich, the experience unique.
  12. Imaging you're listening to a radio play and let the story engage you, and you might find yourself hooked. [Dec 2005, p.108]
  13. My feeling is that Rehearsing My Choir is an odd, initially indigestible album that is far more interesting than most people are willing to admit.
  14. 60
    Not for all--or even most--tastes, the result is abrasive and weirdly haunting. [Nov 2005, p.135]
  15. Rehearsing My Choir is too self-consciously hip to be a twilight reflection on things past and is filled with personal asides only blood relatives can relate to.
  16. There might be a compelling story in there, but when the Furnaces' songs come in to elaborate on her tales... it's all but impossible to figure out what's going on. [6 Nov 2005]
  17. Think of a visit to Nana's house reimagined as alt-Broadway musical theater. [29 Oct 2005]
  18. [The Grandmother's] spoken-word soliloquies only deepen Choir's too-clever-for-its-own-good impenetrability. [28 Oct 2005, p.89]
  19. Admittedly, though it’s clunky and overwrought, the real problem isn’t that the story is tedious or that Olga’s voice is awful--it’s actually weirdly thrilling--it’s that the album simply doesn’t feel as well executed as the premise promises.
  20. As a think piece, Rehearsing My Choir is enormously engaging, but as a pop record, it's exhausting and fruitless.
  21. Thrilling prospect though it may be, the result is a disaster.
  22. It's tedious where there should be tension.
  23. The problem this time out isn’t a lack of interesting material, it’s that these aren’t lyrics, these aren’t songs, these are for the most part spoken word stories backed by some of the most horrific and baroque music ever recorded.
  24. 20
    On Rehearsing My Choir, the Furnaces are just defiant because they can be, indulging every impulse but neglecting to make any of them even remotely compelling. [#70, p.96]
  25. The first and possibly most damaging problem lies in the music, which lacks the focus, coherence, and development to be rewarding beyond a novelty listen.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 130 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 64
  2. Negative: 14 out of 64
  1. Paul
    Apr 26, 2006
    A unique album, worked out better than i expected it to be but overall their least best record.
  2. GlennD
    Jan 11, 2006
    It's all great fun, especially very funny on first listen, but musically it can be pretty trying. It just doesn't leave a lasting impression. Full Review »
  3. SpencerM
    Dec 11, 2005
    Critics hated it for not being a pop record; a record they wanted. But it's not supposed to be, you idiots! Who would ever do a pop record with their 83 year-old grandmother?? Nobody has, and nither have the Furnaces. This album is more of a radio show, a theatrically-whimsy and changing-as-is-life collection of sounds that tell the story of Olga Sarantos, the Furnaces' grandma. It's brilliant and if you don't like it not because you don't like Furnaces' style, but because it's too "out there" or "too far", then you're missing out. Full Review »