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Old 03-02-2009, 02:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
**** Steve Harvey
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Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha (2007)

1. Fiery Crash
2. Imitosis
3. Plasticities
4. Heretics
5. Armchairs
6. Darkmatter
7. Simple X
8. The Supine
9. Cataracts
10. Scythian Empires
11. Spare-Ohs
12. Yawny at the Apocalypse

After the success of Mysterious Production of Eggs, Andrew Bird signed to Fat Possum Records to release Armchair Apocrypha in 2007. Co-collaborator Martin Dosh joined with Bird and adds percussion and keyboards to his sound, as well as Jeremy Ylvisaker who was added for bass and back up vocals. Haley Bonar also makes several appearances on back up vocals. Armchair Apocrypha reached number 76 on the Billboard charts giving Bird the most mainstream success he’s had, appearing for the first time on television for David Letterman.

Armchair Apocrypha is a more straight forward indie/alternative rock album than Bird’s previous work but it retains the similar layered sound as Mysterious Production. Though this is musically a less complex album, Bird’s lyrics are even more interesting and complicated. With his extensive vocabulary, he writes about themes such as science and the apocalypse, with such beauty and simplicity.

The album opens with Fiery Crash which Bird describes as a protection from plane crashes “a nod to mortality before you get on the plane” singing “to save our lives you have to envision a fiery crash”. He approaches Heretics and Plasticities with the same whimsical attitude. These songs are about themes such as embracing death and differing mentalities of society yet Bird portrays them with a child-like attitude, almost poking fun at them. These songs are probably the closest Andrew Bird will ever come to pop music.

Imitosis is one of the most popular tracks off the album and deservedly so. It is an expansion of “I” off of Weather Systems. This is a dark song about science and its downfalls. The lyrics are some of the most interesting Bird has wrote. What kind of rock singer writes lyrics like “Is just a case of mitosis / Sure fatal doses of malcontent through osmosis”. This is all put together into an accessible rock song with a dark riff on the keyboards and some great layering on the violin, with a slight influence from spanish music present.

Armchairs is a personal favorite of mine. It is an absolute masterpiece. Everyone is performing to perfection on this track. It starts out as a solemn ballad and builds its way up to a powerful coda. By the end of the song it’s hard to believe that only three men created such a full sound. Bird delivers emotional vocals with such ease; at times he is reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. The climax of the song is a brilliant harmony between the piano, guitar, Bird's vocals, and several loops of droning violin. Before the album was released the title had several variations such as “Apocalypse in an Armchair” and “Amrchairs of the Apocalypse”. The meaning of the song is cloudy, but I believe it can be interpreted to show the imminence of the apocalypse.

Martin Dosh’s talent adds some new textures to Bird’s music. This can be heard on Simple X which was composed solely by Dosh with an excellent percussion track that flows with Birds violin samples wonderfully. Scythian Empires is a perfect example of the type of layering that Bird is known for. There are so many stratums of instrument tracks to this song. At its height, there is a harmony between guitar arpeggios, electric keyboard, and piano with splashes of Bird’s pizzicato violin and electric guitar as well.

It is hard to say anything bad about Armchair Apocrypha. The only major problem I have with it is that it’s more accessible than Andrew Bird’s earlier music. Though it is more mainstream, Bird stays true to himself continuing his layered music, achieving his full sound that he has become known for. But I’m a sucker for music like his more ambient work on Weather Systems. Also, there is a bit of filler on this album which is rare for Bird, for example I could easily go on without pop/rock songs like Dark Matter and Heretics. Nevertheless this album is highly recommended especially for newcomers to Mr. Bird.


Last edited by mannny; 03-02-2009 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I like the two Andrew Bird CDs I've gotten so far. Lyrically though, the guy is just too smart for me. I seldom know just what the hell he's talking about.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:52 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Andrew Bird - Noble Beast (2009)

1. Oh No
2. Masterswarm
3. Fitz and the Dizzyspells
4. Effigy
5. Tenuousness
6. Nomenclature
7. ouo
8. Not a Robot, But a Ghost
9. Unfolding Fans
10. Anonanimal
11. Natural Disaster
12. The Privateers
13. Souverian
14. On Ho

Andrew Birdís most recent effort, Noble Beast, was released by Fat Possum Records on January 20, 2009. It features the same line-up as the previous album. Noble Beast is a laid back, smooth album. It retains many aspects of Armchair Apocrypha but it has a different feel. This is more of a baroque pop album than an alternative rock album. Many of the songs flow into each other, and there is much repetition. As usual every song is layered, creating a full sound. But on Noble Beast, there seems to be a more laid back approach to it. The album artwork suits the album well. This album could be played as background music for the setting in the artwork.

Masterswarm is a calm, laid back song with a flowing percussive beat and, of course, some great harmonies on the looping violin. This track is a good representation of the type of music on this album. It is calming and flowing. Bird delivers some soft, smooth vocals and whistling melodies.

Not a Robot, But a Ghost is a highlight of the album. There is a great percussive track by Martin Dosh. The whistling and violin add a mysterious, sinister vibe to the song. At times this track can be somewhat reminiscent of Radiohead. Birdís enigmatic lyrics continue on Noble Beast with him singing ďI hear the clockwork in your core / time strips the gears till you forget what they were for / I push the numbers through your pores / I crack the codes that end the warĒ

The Privateers is a revisited version of The Confession, from Oh! The Grandeur. It is transformed from a jazz ballad into a flowing baroque pop song. Souverian is another highlight of Noble Beast. At just over seven minutes it is the longest track of the album. The smooth, flowing vibe continues on this track but it builds up to a layered coda with the violin, percussion and a droning distorted guitar that adds something new to the track.

Noble Beast is Andrew Birdís weakest effort of his solo career. There is some filler and many of the songs flow into each other with a lot of repetition. At times this works, but I just wish Bird had taken more risks with this album. This is not to say that this album is worthless, it just doesnít stand out as much as the rest of Birdís solo career.

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Old 03-23-2009, 07:05 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Intro to Andrew Bird

Download this comp if you want a quick introduction to Andrew Bird's music. I took samples from each part of his career.

Song - Album

1. Beware (Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire) - Oh! The Grandeur
2. Wait (Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire) - Oh! The Grandeur
3. Fatal Flower Garden (Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire) - The Swimming Hour
4. Satisfied (Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire) - The Swimming Hour
5. Weather Systems - Weather Systems
6. Action/Adventure - Weather Systems
7. A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
8. The Happy Birthday Song - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
9. Banking on a Myth - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
10. Spare-Ohs - Armchair Apocrypha
11. Armchairs - Armchair Apocrypha
12. Not a Robot, But a Ghost - Noble Beast
13. Masterswarm - Noble Beast

Intro to Andrew Bird.rar
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:08 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Great reviews, I'll use this thread sometime.

Edit: And I did use this thread, just about done listening to Music Of Hair. I think I'll need to spend some more time with it before mr.bird and I are more well acquainted, but I'm liking what I'm hearing. I thought this would be much more out of my comfort zone then It actually was, honestly, I really enjoyed this album and am excited for the day when I have the time to hear more of his work. Thanks for the reviews, I definitely would have missed out without them. Is that a hint of 50's influence in Pathetique?

Last edited by Schizotypic; 04-05-2009 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:18 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mannny View Post
Andrew Bird - Weather Systems (2003)

1. First Song
2. I
3. Lull
4. Action/Adventure
5. →
6. Skin
7. Weather Systems
8. Don't Be Scared
9. ←
This was one album I couldn't stop playing for awhile. Thanks for the video. I love Action/Adventure.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:35 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Such a great post (although I would disagree on the stand out songs on just about every album). Would love to see updates with the recent albums.
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