Album of the Week: Andrew Bird, 'My Finest Work Yet'

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Andrew Bird, 'My Finest Work Yet'
Andrew Bird, 'My Finest Work Yet' (Courtesy of Loma Vista)
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"I think My Finest Work Yet is my finest work yet." --Andrew Bird

Now that we have that out of the way. Andrew Bird has been doing this for awhile now. Since his short stint in Squirrel Nut Zippers, My Finest Work Yet is his 12th album. You've heard him on The Current on the regular since its inception 14 years ago.

He's like a painter creating his art with his violin flourishes and brushstrokes of piano. Oh, and he often whistles while he works!

There is no shortage of whistling on My Finest Work Yet, but, I get a sense there is a lot more going on than his whistling. The opening track, "Sisyphus" takes its name from was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). According to Wikipedia, "he was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity." There might be a bigger theme at work here.

There is a lot to digest on My Finest Work Yet, there is also plenty to enjoy. "Bloodless," sounds almost like Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" with Bird's vocals laid atop. It's gorgeous, as he sings, "1956 in Catalonia!"

The thing I really love about this album is how organic it is. It's simply strings, piano, drums and maybe a touch of organ and the aforementioned whistling. He's also a pretty interesting lyricist as evidenced in "Archipelago," a sort of chamber pop tune, where Bird references J. Edgar Hoover and features the lyric, "Three headed monster swallows Tokyo"

Bird has plenty of ideas up his sleeve. "Manifest," has a sprawling Laurel Canyon vibe, with more of that signature whistling and an arrangement straight out of the Van Dyke Parks play book. "Olympians" has a jaunty, 70's pop rock feel and is almost in Father John Misty territory.

Some 20 years into his career, Andrew Bird is still making interesting music. I am not sure if his latest is his finest work yet, but it ranks right up there!

Resources


Andrew Bird - Official Site

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