Inspired by a 2016 trip to her ancestral Greece, you can feel the electricity in "Rebound," Eleanor Friedberger's fourth solo album since The Fiery Furnaces, her duo with brother Matthew, took a break in 2011.
Steady voltage comes from the arrangements — drum machines, synths and crystalline electric guitars lay a novel foundation for Friedberger's 10 new songs.
The '80s atmosphere soothes even as the melodies and lyrics provide their own current. Friedberger sings in little jolts, but in just the right doses to keep you listening to one, the other, or both.
The most buoyant tunes form a neat trio at the end of side one: "Everything," ''In Between Stars" and "Make Me a Song." The first sounds like Laurie Anderson at 45 rpm.; it's easy to imagine the second — with its mention of the sea, sky, salt, moons, a spring and iron — being written on a Greek island; while the third has bounce and seems like an invitation to something bigger, whether romance or purpose.
"The Letter" has a long but beautiful and melancholy refrain reflecting the difficulties of human communication: "The opposite of what he thought he thought/The opposite of what she wanted." ''It's Hard" recounts her experiences at the Athens nightclub Rebound, which gives the album its name and, apparently, some of its sonic identity. "Are We Good?" is like snippets of dialogue where you only hear one of the voices.
In her songs, Friedberger is often in search mode, but she and collaborator Clemens Knieper have given "Rebound" a charming sound that is not so easy to find these days.