Monday, March 9, 2009

We are the harmless sociopaths.

Now, up to this point, almost all the music I've put up here, almost all the music I review has been Canadian, and has been stuff I've seen live. This is not. This is Andrew Bird.

I've finally given his new album, Noble Beast, a chance. Recently his stuff has been a bit disappointing to me. I first heard him as a sometimes-member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and took a peek into his work with his band Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, which was the same sort of swing revival music. His last album, Armchair Apocrypha, disappointed me. I'm not entirely sure why. The Bowl of Fire stuff was excellent, aside from The Swimming Hour which bored me... and The Mysterious Production of Eggs was delightful. Maybe it's just a matter of a meh album and then good album and then a meh album and then a good album.

Noble Beast is a good album. Hell, it's a great album. Classically trained violinist doing beautiful indie music, that's what Andrew Bird is up to. Beautiful music, soothing. He has redeemed himself in my eyes. From the onset of Oh No, the first track, I knew that I was in for a treat. He is a gifted songwriter with an obvious love of words, and obscure words at that. From Tenuousness:

"'Tenuous at best' was all he had to say when pressed about the rest of it; the world that is. From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans, Greek Cypriots and harbour-sorts who hang around in quotes a lot."

The play with words and sounds! It's not even a lot of nonsense, but to grasp at these relations that don't quite go together, the rhythm and the sound, holy cow, mate, holy cow. An awful lot of the tracks end on cold stops, which I like a lot. The constant wall of sound collapses almost unexpectedly without so much as a cry and the next track begins. Gorgeousness, sheer gorgeousness!

You simply must take a listen. It's unlike most things you've heard, I promise you. This album was released in late January. When you listen, really listen. Listen to those words, listen to all those sounds, those varied sounds all juxtaposed in such a way as never known. This man has a gift, and on this latest album, holy mackerel does it ever work!

Andrew Bird - Effigy

Andrew Bird - Not A Robot, But A Ghost

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