Swimming Hour

The Swimming Hour

5.0 1
by Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire
     
 
Fiery fiddler and occasional Squirrel Nut Zipper Andrew Bird dives into a rockin' new sound on The Swimming Hour, his third outing with his group Bowl of Fire, but it's a direction that will still hold considerable charm for fans of the hot-jazz, old-timey, 1930s exotica that marked Thrills

Overview

Fiery fiddler and occasional Squirrel Nut Zipper Andrew Bird dives into a rockin' new sound on The Swimming Hour, his third outing with his group Bowl of Fire, but it's a direction that will still hold considerable charm for fans of the hot-jazz, old-timey, 1930s exotica that marked Thrills and Oh! The Grandeur. Where those albums actually sound more like 78s (possibly those being pumped through a Victrola in the Addams Family parlor), The Swimming Hour is alive and crackling with a violin-led rock attack that recalls Camper Van Beethoven at their creepiest. Yet Bird and longtime Fire drummer Kevin O'Donnell still incorporate swinging time signatures, fluid rhythmic derring-do, and astoundingly advanced arrangements -- this time topping them off with humid Memphis funk and cranky garage-rock guitar and organ for a swampy, twisted southern ambience. Likewise intact are Bird's literary couplets (e.g., "A state of peristalsis or a pair of static stases/ And we're off to the races") and encyclopedic grasp of early-music, classical, and folk themes. If Flannery O'Connor, Noël Coward, and Tim Burton formed a band, they might come up with something as darkly, drolly sublime as The Swimming Hour.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jon Azpiri
Listening to Swimming Hour is like taking a walking tour through 20th century musical history. Andrew Bird, a major contributor to nouveau-swing band the Squirrel Nut Zippers, mixes numerous styles and genres such as classical, Latin, and gypsy music, among others. The song "Why" feels like a jazz song from a 1950s film noir soundtrack, and "Satisfied" blends gospel with straight-ahead rock & roll. Also impressive is Bird's cover versions of the Mississippi Sheiks' "Too Long" and Nelstone's Hawaiians' "Fatal Flower Garden," a reworked rendition of an old Irish ballad. The vast array of musical styles are united by Bird's haunting vocals as well as lyrics that are both thoughtful and whimsical. While Swimming Hour is clearly an album obsessed with musical history, Bird manages to mix in enough of his own unique style to prevent the album from feeling like a musty old museum piece.
Entertainment Weekly - Laura Morgan
"B+"...It's only April, but the giddy "Two Way Action" and the lilting "11:11" are penciled in on my "best songs of the year" list.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/03/2001
Label:
Rykodisc
UPC:
0014431060625
catalogNumber:
10606

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The Swimming Hour 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best album of 2001. If you doubt it, buy it!