In Eleanor Friedberger’s main gig as frontwoman of Fiery Furnaces, she was accustomed to a recording pace that saw her band release nine albums in six years, a schedule that would leave even the most energetic bands short of breath. So perhaps it’s no surprise that ‘Last Summer’, Friedberger’s debut solo record and first for two years, feels so much calmer than her previous output. Sure, being calmer than a band known for its knotty restlessness might not be too much of an achievement, but the calmness here is a blessing: opener ‘My Mistakes’ has the kind of reassuring laid-back confidence normally reserved for massive stars messing around in their studio, and ‘Roosevelt Island’ swaggers with a synthy funk redolent of the best of new-wave 80s pop. Laboured lyrical references occasionally interrupt the flow, but otherwise ‘Last Summer’ is terrifically cool pop performed with poise and a smile.

By Sam Walton