|Photo by: Amazon|
Key Tracks: “Give It Away,” “EyeonEye,” “Belles”
Andrew Bird has the tendency to resemble a wax figurine of a prototypical indie-rocker, but on Break It Yourself, he is not at all akin to something in Madame Tassauds'. In fact, the album is unbearably alive, moving and breathing and sighing like an art student’s notebook scrawls come to life.
The album is incredibly delicate, and something of a Faberge egg in comparison to the bombastic indie-pop that often finds itself on commercials and movie previews. “Desperation Bleeds,” the opening track, is sleepy in a haunting manner; somewhat akin to the highlights of Wilco’s 2002 masterpiece Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Bird’s lyrics are soft and pretty and inoffensive in the way that most indie music needs to be “nowadays.”
Bird doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers, but he does want to do some goddam whistling, even if whistling isn’t exactly as much of a star on this particular album as it has been on his past releases. But he's not really going out of his comfort zone. Just listen to the first couple seconds of “Hole in the Ocean Floor,” which opens with the same thudding mandolin that runs throughout most of Bird’s work. And then, to hit the point home, the song descends to an epic bit of masterful whistling.
Admittedly, the songs on Break It Yourself are considerably more mature than some of the songs on say, 2009’s Noble Beast. There are textures and layers here that aren’t as easy to penetrate as a whimsical indie-folk song usually is. In fact, Bird pulls a couple of stunts on the album that might even come across as unpalatable by some fans-of-wimp-folk. Take, for example, “Belles,” an odd little finale song comprised of insects chirping and wind chimes chiming.
“Sifters” also opens with classic Bird acoustically inclined chiming. But, once again, Andy is taking us for something a little deeper, a little older and more experienced than what he has previously put out. The vocals on this particular song are upfront and unashamed, not buried in layers of blinging and blonging stringed instruments. Furthermore, as per usual, his lyrics are whimsical and dream-like, about “being the night sky that is my lullaby” and wondering whether he would bring cookies to the one he loves if she was 90.
Maybe there isn’t anything too new on Break It Yourself for anyone who is relatively well acquainted with Andrew Bird. But that isn’t a bad thing.
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