Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

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Andrew Bird: Dark Matters
Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha (Spunk) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Years ago this Chicago singer-songwriter-violinist helmed his band Bowl of Fire through strange back-alleys of music which referred to blues and jazz of the 20s, circuses and travelling shows, low-rent bars and brothel music of old time New Orleans, and a bit of Tom Waits.

After a while I gave up telling people how good he was.

It's that time again however -- but for very different reasons, and very different music.

Bird now makes a kind of eclectic, bent and sometimes dramatic folk-rock with dark alt.rock overtones -- although every now and again you can hear echoes of that earlier stylistic implosion.

As with Richard Swift (see tag), he is uncompromising in his arrangements but is profligate of melodies and almost throws them away. And shoots these songs through with disconcertingly clever (but not clever-clever) lyrics: you might never want to fly again when you read the incisive and economic lyrics of the opener Fiery Crash.

Dreams, half-remembered visions, oblique stabs at contemporary politics through the prism of history, lives of boredom and tension . . .

Bird is one smart cookie, but it is his music which will initially transport you.

This is a real grower and could appeal to Arcade Fire and Richard Swift fans alike.

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