Picture courtesy of Amazon.com
Andrew Bird can probably whistle better than half of the population. With Noble Beast, his fourth full length album, that is Bird’s secret weapon and it’s probably the most vital instrument he uses for this album. The Chicago native doesn’t disappoint with 14 new tracks that are filled with eerie tones and woozy violins that also includes a deluxe edition bonus disc, Useless Creatures, with eight instrumental songs.
Whether it’s better than Armchair Apocrypha is debatable. Because the two albums are so different, it’s hard to compare the two. While Armchair Apocrypha presents his classically trained violin talent and his instrumental capabilities better, Noble Beast showcases Bird’s ability for songwriting. On his previous albums, it seemed like he focused on instruments first, then lyrics. With Noble Beast, the instruments are only just a component and this time around, lyrics take over. Instead of writing songs in more imaginative and fable-esque language, almost like poetry, (for example, “my dewy-eyed disney bride, what has tried…swapping your blood with formaldehyde?” from the song “Fake Palindromes” on The Mysterious Production of Eggs, Bird’s second solo album,) his lyrics are more real and personal to him (“I will become this animal; perfectly adapted to the music halls,” he sings on “Anonanimal”). Even though this is evident in Bird’s newest effort, there’s still the same metaphoric banter in his some of his songs (“I’m flailing to the whir of a snack machine and muted screams of an old regime,” from “Fitz and the Dizzyspells”).
Noble Beast is something new for Bird and something refreshing however, his instrumental capabilities and poetic, metaphoric lyrics should never be forgotten because that’s what Bird is notorious for.
Rating: 4 out of 5