Matthew Friedberger - Matricidal Sons Of Bitches

A rock opera of sorts recorded in Matt’s Parisian home, its influence stems from the films of Poverty Row.

Label: Thrill Jockey

Rating: 6

Matthew Friedberger’s music has always bordered on the nonsensical. As half of Fiery Furnaces with sister Eleanor, he wrote music with his grandmother, recorded tracks backwards and made an album about a blueberry-loaded boat.

Solo, he’s even more peculiar. See 2006’s ‘Holy Ghost Language School’ for example: half of a double release, it tells the story of a a man opening a foreign language school in order to do business in China. And like this, ‘Matricidal Sons Of Bitches’ is a concept album.

A rock opera of sorts recorded in Matt’s Parisian home, its influence stems from the films of Poverty Row; it’s written as an imaginary horror movie soundtrack. With 45 tracks split in to four parts - ‘Ladies in Waiting’, ‘Brand New Mothers’, ‘Expectant Fathers’ and ‘Dying On The Sixth Side’ - time is needed for listening, and while difficult to make out the story, those patient enough will be rewarded.

‘The Neighbours’ sets the tone. A woman - the only time spoken voices are heard - expresses hatred about certain individuals. Beneath this narrative lie phrases repeated throughout by jagged antique pianos, whimsical horns and over-reverberated synths. The effect is often so dramatic, it conjures imagery of 1950s American soap operas.

Unsurprisingly, this collection does sometimes border on becoming stale; 10-30 second fillers appear somewhat pointlessly bookended between certain tracks. But, more often than not, Friedberger does spice things up: some tracks come straight from an 8-bit Nintendo boss battle (‘Pursuit’ and ‘Less Acute’) and sound just as sinister as anything from ‘Holy Ghost…’ or ‘The Diabolical Principle’.

This isn’t for everyone; Friedberger doesn’t write for the masses. But ‘Matricidal Sons Of Bitches’’ oddness is reason enough to give it a go. The result is surprisingly delightful.