Noble Beast

Noble Beast

4.6 9
by Andrew Bird
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Released in 2007, Armchair Apocrypha proved that hyper-literate singer/songwriter, genre-bending violin player, and peerless whistler Andrew Bird had found the perfect middle ground between his increasingly austere solo sets and the full-band grandeur of his days with the Bowl of Fire, a strategy he repeats with similar

Overview

Released in 2007, Armchair Apocrypha proved that hyper-literate singer/songwriter, genre-bending violin player, and peerless whistler Andrew Bird had found the perfect middle ground between his increasingly austere solo sets and the full-band grandeur of his days with the Bowl of Fire, a strategy he repeats with similar results on Noble Beast, his fifth full-length solo offering and second collection for the Mississippi-based Fat Possum label. Bird, a classically trained violinist since the age of four, has skillfully integrated nearly everything with strings on it into his repertoire since his conversion from the Weill and Brecht-heavy days of Music of Hair, Thrills, and Oh! The Grandeur to the semi-mainstream indie pop of The Swimming Hour, but it's his seemingly limitless capacity for manipulation of the violin that dominates Noble Beast. Opening cut "Oh No," a track that Bird began releasing sketches of months before the album's street date, may be his most successful foray into the murky world of the potentially commercial pop song yet, boasting a chorus that points directly at the Shins while maintaining the artistic integrity of the loop-happy, meticulous craftsman who fans have been watching evolve since 2003's Weather Systems. What follows is a typically eclectic batch of material that reflect Bird's own musical time line. Tracks like "Masterswarm" and "Not a Robot, But a Ghost" are proof positive that he hasn't completely abandoned his swing jazz roots, "Fitz and the Dizzyspells" could very well provide audiences with their first opportunity to "bust a move" at a show, while "Nomenclature"'s easy country-folk front half dissolves into a rear end that wouldn't seem out of place on a late-'90s Radiohead album. Throughout it all Bird rhymes -- sometimes to a fault -- like a history or biology professor ("From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to porto-centric Lisboans"), rendering many of the songs clever as opposed to emotionally resonant, but whatever romance he lacks in the textual medium he more than makes up for in melody. [The deluxe version of the album includes an impressive bonus disc of instrumental works, cleverly titled Useless Creatures, which features collaborations with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and jazz bassist Todd Sickafoose.]

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Magazine - Jonathan Mahler
Andrew Bird’s approach to songwriting is...intuitive and impressionistic. Often, a word or phrase will catch his eye for no apparent reason. Or he might hear a sound — the creaking of a door, the wailing of an infant — or experience a feeling that he’ll want to match to words. He is more interested in how the words in his lyrics sound, in the mood they create and sense they relate, than in their literal meaning....Bird’s ambitions and talents can send him in a lot of different directions. His last album, “Armchair Apocrypha,” is sprawling, “erratic and ecstatic,” as Bird puts it. On “Noble Beast,” he worked hard not to let himself get carried away, to keep his songs as simple and direct as possible. He wanted the record to be characterized not by the countless peaks and valleys of his live perform­ances but by a single, unifying palette. Having spent much of his career deliberately avoiding repetition, Bird cautiously embraced it on “Noble Beast.” The result is a focused record with a couple of genuinely catchy pop songs.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/03/2009
Label:
Fat Possum Records
UPC:
0767981112411
catalogNumber:
1124
Rank:
43368

Tracks

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Noble Beast 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
excellent as always!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While this album is firmly rooted on the mellow side of music, it is still engaging and exciting. Masterswarm has complex rhythm with fuzz guitar, cello, whistling. Each song has a different feel, but the album is cohesive. It has been in my heavy rotation for the six weeks since purchase.
Pink_Cuppah More than 1 year ago
This CD is very relaxing and refreshing. It is innovative and quite comforting. Something to listen to when one wishes to relax and just take a break from a busy lifestyle. Although complex and engaging, the music is very calming and deep. I really enjoy listening to this album when doing simple chores or riding public transport. It's really a great buy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago