By Ryan Hester |Staff Writer|
Andrew Bird is an exceedingly skilled violinist who is well on his way to giving traditional music a new meaning.
Bird has radically re-invented himself as a solo artist. From his days in his band Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bird has changed his sound. The breathtaking musicianship is impressive.
Some of his earlier albums are influenced by traditional folk music as well as jazz and blues.
Bird’s latest album, Break It Yourself, is creative, artistic and filled with calming energy while producing a sound that is uniquely his own.
“Desperation Breeds,” the first track on the album, sounds like a beautiful summer sun tiptoeing higher and higher.
“Sifters” is certainly the album’s boldest track, blossoming on a sentimental note.
“What if we hadn’t been born at the same time?/What if you were seventy-five and I were nine?” sings Bird. “Would I still visit you, bring you cookies in an old folks’ home?/Would you be there alone?”
Bird has crafted an abstract sophisticated group of songs in Break It Yourself. He has shown dedication to ascend his craft with a chill vibe and emotional tone.
Listening to this album gives the effect of imagining deep visuals which grow stronger with each listen.
The album has a very relaxed pace. The slow musical tides roll through your headphones and it takes you to another place entirely. It’s a different but very distinct sound.
Lines such as “We’ll dance like cancer survivors/like we’re grateful simply to be alive” are shivering and affecting.
“The Illinois songsmith seems to have built a career of making even the most simple things obtuse,” said Billy Hamilton of Drowned in Sound. “[Bird] approaches nature more directly on his new record, but internal human emotions as well.”
“I fixed up this old barn about ten years ago with the intention of bringing a band out there and recording,” said Bird in an interview with Drowned in Sound. “[It became] a place to isolate myself, get some solitude and write, mess around with the looping stuff, and kind of just develop a new way of making music. In that sense it was hugely successful, but I could never seem to make a record there.”
Break it Yourself is a must listen for anyone into ambient and soothing folk sounds. Bird has created an impeccable gem of an album that deserves to be heard.