Friday, March 23, 2007

Album Review- Armchair Apocrypha

Andrew Bird
Armchair Apocrypha

There’s an aura of darkness that surrounds Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha that unites each song into a cohesive album. Where The Mysterious Production of Eggs had sweet, familiar melodies and quick, catchy hooks, Armchair Apocrypha seems to be more of a complex, lonely, and sad album. Though at the same time, Andrew Bird continues to write satisfying and moving ballads with incredibly cinematic themes and lyrics.

While the end of the world is not a new subject for Andrew Bird, the way in which he’s dealing with it is. On The Mysterious Production of Eggs’ “Tables and Chairs,” he revels in an afterlife filled with “pony rides and dancing bears” and even promises that there’ll be snacks in the end. On Armchair Aprocrypha, the Apocalypse doesn’t seem to have been so cheery. The albums final cut, “Yawny at the Apocalypse” could either be an incredibly mournful and sad elegy to a life well lived, or a dissident, non linear anthem to surviving an ended world. It is an awfully moving piece of music, led by Bird’s weeping violin melody that pierces the heavens, no matter where you may be.

True to his form, Andrew Bird hasn’t lost his sense of humor completely. A charging track on Armchair called “Dark Matter” is a classic Bird song, filled with whistles, awesome harmonies, pizzicato strings and a seemingly ridiculous theme: the board game Operation. Though, just like the game, there’s something in there that you can dig out, musically and lyrically. Other songs have equally familiar Bird lyrics about lacking the proper chemicals to function and fighting for the right to have musicals and cities.

Andrew Bird is one of today’s most seminal artists. He is a genius musician who wraps his heart, fingers, arms, and head around multiple parts and instruments. When playing live he normally tours with a drummer, and without missing a beat, plays each vocal and instrument part live using a looping pedal. This formula, used by others, but mastered by Bird, creates a unique theatrical experience for the audience. As the listener of his albums you imagine each part as played by Bird. The song “Scythian Empire” emphasizes his originality and transcends musical trends today. An exceptional arrangement of piano, guitar, strings, and Bird’s signature dreamy vocals provide a lovely antitheses in a song that lyrically deepens the apocalyptic theme with images of “Black tar rain and hellfire” falling on a crumbling empire.

Despite a few slow spots, some recycled material, and the occasional mumble-singing that Bird is prone too, Armchair Apocrypha contains some beautiful music with wonderful lyrics. It solidifies Andrew Bird as one of music’s most unique and brilliant artists, one that deserves to be recognized and celebrated. His music, however thematically destructive, is ultimately healing. Though, you might not want to wait too long to take it in, because if you’re a disciple of the prophet Bird, it all might just come to an end soon.

Download >>Scythian Empire

Download >>Dark Matter

No comments: