Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Andrew Bird: Noble Beast

Artist: Andrew Bird
Album: Noble Beast
Date Released: January 12, 2009
Genre: adult alternative, pop, rock
Rating: 7.9

Review: Now very deep into his career, Andrew Bird's fifth studio albums features all his vintage trademarks: stellar song writing and lyrics, virtuoso whistling, and plenty of violin; Noble Beast features some of his best violin playing and arranging to date. But it's the influences that Andrew Bird brings to Noble Beast that make it such an interesting and listenable album.

Take the second track, "Masterswarm" as an example. The intro is pure Nick Drake, but it quickly shifts to a groove that sounds like a cross between Calexico and Enrico Morricone. Add to that Bird's violin and you get a track that sounds like something put together by Spanish Gypsies.

On "Nomenclature" Bird channels Thom Yorke -- a strange choice given the country-folk feel of the track. But not surprisingly, it works. And as usual, the fantastic melodies shine through.

Bird's lyrics remain some of the best in the business; a prime example can be found on "Effigy":

If you come to find me affable
And build a replica for me
Would the idea to you be laughable
Of a pale facsimile

So will you come to burn an effigy
It should keep the flies away
And when you long to burn this effigy
It should be of the hours that slip away
Slip away

Despite the obvious influences, Noble Beast is still an Andrew Bird album through and through. Fans will not be disappointed.

Track highlights: "Oh No," "Not a Robot But a Ghost," "Tenuousness."

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