As the Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger and her brother Matt carved out a niche as one of the most restless acts of the 2000s, attracting acclaim and opprobrium in equal measure for atypical moves such as compiling set lists made up of complex medleys of their entire catalogue and releasing a near-spoken-word concept album about the life of their own grandmother.
But now the prolific New York band are on hold for the foreseeable future, and Eleanor's a solo proposition. New View, her third album, is a warm, approachable collection which, musically, evokes classic rock and folk of the 60s and 70s, bringing the words to the fore.
Last night's show at The Harley was the third stop on a brief national tour. Probably due to financial constraints - discussed at length in several recent interviews - the New View backing group was absent, Friedberger accompanying herself on acoustic guitar instead.
But even if the arrangements were lacking, her more personal outlook and husky, appealing voice shone through in the songs, from the reflective opener He Didn't Mention His Mother to the disarmingly romantic All Known Things.
Seated, and hunched over her instrument, even Eleanor seemed unprepared for the intimacy of the occasion momentarily - "Thanks for being so quiet," she remarked, prompting exaggerated cheers - but being among friends meant she could revisit Widow City, an old FFs song, entertain herself by speeding up her playing to breakneck speed and play fragments of two numbers during a hasty encore.
Friedberger - plus band, happily - will be back on tour in the UK in June, she revealed, but 'not necessarily' in Sheffield. The campaign to make her reconsider starts here.