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May 6, 2007

{     Andrew Bird "Armchair Apocrypha"     }    

Some people make compulsive music: music so freakish in its intense focus and clarity of purpose that it’s hard not to feel a certain affection for it. Andrew Bird’s meanderings, layered and textural, half solemn and half playful, are clearly the product of an obsessive devotion. A superhuman amount of care goes into each arrangement. This tenderness washes over you, and it’s gorgeous.

Bird’s latest, Armchair Apocrypha, is in keeping with his tradition of moving ever forward, of never sitting on one musical style for too long. He continues the violin-looping that is the major constant of his solo career, but his sound is becoming more expansive, thicker with symphonic multiplicity. It’s also changing to incorporate his growing skill on guitar, an instrument he picked up seriously only a few years ago. This record, while stubbornly clean and well-recorded, still manages to hold a little roughness, especially in Bird’s unpredictable, moody vocals. From the lush crescendo of “Armchairs” to the thinking-person’s rock of “Heretics” and “Plasticities” and even a little dancy-ness in “Simple X,” there’s not a moment that isn’t inventive.

The words are beautiful—very writerly—and carry the signature subtly caustic Bird wit. His worldly, wordy lyrics proclaim him to be, as my former boss would say, “the product of a good liberal arts education.” But Bird doesn’t just string a bunch of obscure words together. He repeats and mixes themes masterfully, so that the songs have a nicely connected feel. Getting lost in it is freaking sublime.

I want to say to Andrew Bird: thank you for not becoming an accountant. Some people were born to do one thing only.

- Written by Vikki Warner

     » Gawk at Mr. Bird's site for tour dates, record buyin', and other fun


a wonderful review of a wonderful album. i love bird's new work so much - the funny thing is i only recently realized that he was in squirrel nut zippers!

Posted by: garrett at May 8, 2007 8:01 AM

Saw Mr. Bird in Boston last night. I've seen him maybe ten times, but this was his best yet, despite being held in a large hall rather than a cozy club. If you are within range of any of his upcoming shows, you MUST GO!

Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

Posted by: Vikki at May 17, 2007 2:44 PM

Solid post... You should post more often.

Posted by: manuel at May 19, 2007 2:19 AM
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