Andrew Bird - "Armchair Apocrypha"

This Tuesday (3/20) sees the release of 3 new albums from long time Pop Headwound favorites. Weeks ago, before I had heard any of them, my interest was in this order: Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank; Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Living With the Living; and third, Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha. Having lived with the three for a few weeks my order of appreciation has changed. I find myself unable to stop listening to Bird, somewhat impressed by Modest Mouse, and a little under whelmed by Ted. Needless to say, Armchair Apocrypha delivers the goods, offering plenty more of Bird’s jazz-tinged, literate indie-rock.

The record is the 7th studio offering from Bird, following 2005’s highly regarded Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs. Perhaps indie-rock’s most notorious whistler, Bird spent much of 2006 laying the groundwork for the excellent set of new tunes, produced by Ben Durrant, and featuring the musical contributions of Haley Bonar and Chris Morrissey. The songs feature many of the same Bird trademarks - lots of violin, whistling, and lyrics that display a wide vocabulary. In addition, several songs employ an electric rhythm guitar that remind me of Kid A-era Radiohead, or at least what that album’s demos may have sounded like before being deconstructed and reshaped.

“Heretics” is the obvious starting point for those unaccustomed to Bird, combining all his strengths into something immediate and enduring, and featuring some impassioned singing and memorable lyrics (“thank God it’s fatal, thank God”). “Scythian Empire” is stunning, melding a folk-influenced acoustic guitar progression, sound effects, and a dreamy vocal melody to beautiful effect. The set also features a electronic collaboration on Martin Dosh’s “Simple X”, a spry electro-pop song that features falsetto-singing and a more beat-oriented drum loop. These new flourishes, along with the already familiar, add up to one of the year’s finest releases to date.
MP3 :: Scythian Empire
MP3 :: Heretics
(from Armchair Apocrypha)


Visit Andrew Bird’s website and myspace for tour dates and to hear more music.


Purchase Armchair Apocrypha from Insound, Amazon.

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