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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bird unleashes noble beast

    Andrew Bird – the versatile violin virtuoso with a verbose vocabulary – never fails to impress, no matter how his musical chakra is channeled. Bird has proven his skills as a ragtime jammer and western-rock stud during his tenure as the front man of Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire, and has further cemented his rep as a musical juggernaut on the three loop-pedal-laden solo albums that followed. Now, upon the release of his fourth solo studio album Noble Beast, the time has come again for the world to marvel at Bird’s soothing strings and unnecessary eloquence.

    Noble Beast is comprised of 14 upbeat tracks that provide all the conventions you’d expect from the formally-trained music man: plucky violin riffs, mellow acoustic strumming, hyper-literate lyrics (“”from proto-Sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans,”” isn’t even the most confusing verse on the album), Andy’s signature superhuman whistling, and even a few palindromes (the first and last songs on the album are titled “”Oh No”” and “”On Ho!”” respectively). In essence, it’s exactly the kind of album you’d expect Andrew Bird to make.

    What sets Beast apart from previous albums, though, is it’s simplicity. After the excessive violin loops and swoops from his most recent album, Armchair Apocrypha (perhaps his darkest and least appealing endeavor), Noble Beast’s emphasis on straightforward acoustic rhythms and Bird’s calming vocals (the track “”Masterswarm”” is an excellent showcase of both) deliver a refreshing change of pace. While this album offers little that fans haven’t already heard from the Bird’s beak throughout the past decade, it does offer the most consistency of Bird’s discography. Such consistency is a double-edged sword: Noble Beast may lack the excitement and novelty of albums like O! The Grandeur and The Swimming Hour (pick them both up immediately if you haven’t), but it will keep the lucky listener locked in a calming stupor from start to finish. Andrew Bird will be playing at the Rialto on Feb. 14.

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