Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Album Review: Noble Beast

Andrew Bird's most anticipated release of his career has landed. With Noble Beast, Bird is trying to make it three great albums in a row. His previous two albums, 2005's The Mysterious Production of Eggs and 2007's Armchair Apocrypha, have been critical acclaimed, leaving music critics and lovers anxious to hear his newest release. The Onion (A.V. Club) stated that "he collides substances that shouldn't mix to create a sound that not only survives the impact, but thrives in the aftermath."

With all the anticipation and pressure, I would have to say that Bird did a pretty good job at following up his previous albums. With this being said, I do not feel that this tops Armchair Apocrypha, but it is difficult to compare the two because both albums have their own, unique sound. His newest album takes the listener on a ride of sonic entropy, from the prototypical Bird songs like "Nomenclature", and "Natural Disaster" to the gallant endeavors of "Not a Ghost, But a Robot".

Bird's signature sound - violin, guitar, glockenshpeil, and whistling combining to make one deliciously juicy music sandwich - gets a bit lost at times with busy drumming of Martin Dosh, but when done right, Dosh's drumming adds a whole other element to Bird's already timeless sound. Another attribute of Bird's music that has set him apart from the crowd are his lyrics that sometimes require a Master's Degree in English in order to decipher. At times this makes the music somewhat inaccessible, but usually Bird's lyrics are so gloriously jumbled that you could pop the album in and be entertained just by listening to his quirky yet ingenious way of looking and writing about the world. In "Tenuousness" Bird starts of the song with this verse:

"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 harbor sorts who hang around in ports a lot

Point proven.

Overall, Bird has produced an above average album, but if you are looking to buy just one of his albums, I still suggest Armchair Apocrypha.

Standout Tracks: Oh No, Effigy, Nomenclature, Not a Ghost, But a Robot and Anonanimal

Bishop's Rating - 7.2

Stream the Entire Album on NPR.
Buy Album: iTunes


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