The brilliantly musical Andrew Bird has released a new studio album, “Are You Serious“, and embarked on a nationwide tour.
From the very first notes of the introduction song, break up nod, “Capsized”, Andrew Bird lays the groundwork feel for a more rock-vibed album than his most recent previous ventures. Complete with bass, guitar, and that signature violin sound, Bird presents his most rock worthy album to date.
Though AC/DC this talented fellow will never be, the comfortable rhythm is more of a throwback to earlier albums such as “The Swimming Hour” (then with the Bowl Of Fire band), and an sonic expansion of 2012’s “Break It Yourself”. More continuous guitar, more steady beats.
Despite the perpetual evolution, Andrew Bird’s most signature qualities are well-showcased, such as his angelic whistling (which makes his namesake one of the most fitting coincidences of all), and his vast talent as a multi-instrumentalist. Each song is well-layered, and attention to detail has been paid. There’s also that masterful, intriguing plucking of his violin!
Mid-album “Are You Serious” houses a beautiful collaboration with the exceptional Fiona Apple called “Left Handed Kisses”. A welcome contributor, Apple’s deep and emotive voice pairs wonderfully, line for line, as the pair trade reflections back and forth about love. She sings in weathered refrain, “The point your song here misses is that if you really love me, you’d risk more than a few fifty-cent words in your back-handed love song”.
Last month, Bird released a video for the single featuring the duo sitting across from one another (they DEFINITELY look serious!). It left the collective universe wondering if Fiona truly smashed that glass bottle in her hand (or maybe that’s just me).
The album presents a much more conscious, less abstract narrative overall. Bird embarks on a lyrical journey that is more direct, more acquainted with change. It’s very obvious that Bird’s writing has been shaped by getting married and having a son. In “Valleys Of The Young” he begins, “Do you need a reason we should commit treason and bring into this world a son”. Bird includes lyrical prose about saints and sinners alike, in a format that will always be uniquely his own.
In typical Andrew Bird style, he throws in smile-inducing lyrics such as “Puma”s, “When she was radioactive for seven days, how I wanted to be holding her anyway”. His hard at work brilliant wordplay is still ever-present with always observational lyrics.
The songwriter displays that as his career has marched on, he’s become more aware of his wonderful prowess, as some lyrics confess. In “Are You Serious” he sings, “Used to be so willfully obtuse, or is the word abstruse? Semantics like a noose, get out your dictionaries”.
Bird continues to inspire, and evolve musically. “Are You Serious” shows an artist not afraid to try new things, while successfully remaining true to his roots.
Andrew Bird will be making a stop at the Royal Oak Music Theatre this Thursday the 14th, followed by Columbus, Ohio on the 15th and the House Of Blues in Cleveland on April 16th.
Words by: Tiffany Cuthrell