Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Noble Effort

Noble Beast - Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird is an odd one, there's no escaping that. He is fascinated by words, instruments, sounds and deeper/hidden meanings. His work is contradictory in that it combines things that would appear shouldn't belong together. Mandolins, violins and beatboxes.
Bird is a classic instrumentalist at heart. He is a trained expert on many instruments and he puts them to play in ways most could never dream up or contrive and even if they could they couldn't make them sound so perfect.
Alone is where Bird spends a fair amount of his time. He passes most of his days on his farm, loving the world he has and loving his instruments and the power of music.
He's become a force in modern pop music, a vibrant voice for the multi instrumentalists and classically trained artist and he is a bit of a standard in the world of indie music. His life performances are stuff of legend and his whistle is unlike anything I've ever heard. He's made amazing songs and compiled two stellar albums in The Mysterious Production of Eggs and Armchair Apocrypha. He earned the right to let his hair down and just have fun.
Noble is the fruit of such a thought.
Don't over think it or overdo it. If it feels right just let it be.
Andrew Bird is having fun with music again. Noble is short of a great album, but it's a worthy collection of songs that matter to Bird and are worth hearing. It's clear that Bird has been knocking these songs around for a long time, he's just never been sure what they were telling him, where to take them and how to fit them into an album. That being said, Noble does play a bit like odds and ends collected and recorded. Nothing is stunning, but all is delightful.
I wanted more from Noble, but I am not disappointed. It has it's moments, it has some great songs, just not enough of them. Things are slowed down and simplified. Luckily for Bird that still works as he's interesting enough without much going on. I love when he and Dosh construct odd arrangements, but that's simply not needed here. These songs do enough on their own.
Direct and Intriguing. Bird hasn't lost his touch or his sight, he sounds more comfortable with himself now than he has before. This album will be in the rotation for quite some time.

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