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The slow-burning Fiery Furnaces explode in “Clear Signal From Cairo”

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re highlighting some of our favorite drum tracks of all time.

The Fiery Furnaces, “Clear Signal From Cairo” (2007)

The Fiery Furnaces specialize in slow burns, revealing their charms through repeated listens, and that’s what I treasure so much about the band’s music. I usually hear a song and decide if I like it within the first 30 seconds, but Fiery Furnaces songs, with their oddball structures, force my patience.


The one exception to that rule is “Clear Signal From Cairo” from Widow City, which commands attention immediately with its raucous intro, anchored by Bob D’Amico’s thunderous drumming. The intro is followed with modest timekeeping during Eleanor Friedberger’s verses, suggesting a bait-and-switch, but D’Amico comes roaring back to life in a thrilling sequence of frantic jamming fits that stop, start, and veer off the path and back a number of times. “Clear Signal From Cairo” is as angular and challenging as anything the Furnaces have put out, and it’s one of their most cohesive songs, thanks to D’Amico’s powerful, versatile drumming.

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