Bird never takes a melody where you expect it to go, as on the chorus of "Plasticities", which is practically power pop with its snappy guitar hook and massive vocal melody, but the way it's recorded and arranged it gets under your skin more than it gets into your head.
The Scythians controlled vast swaths of modern-day Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan for around eight centuries but now are all but forgotten-- Bird's indirect connection of them to the imagery of the last four years shows the sweep of history that speedily ushers most of our endeavors to the dustbin, and he does it without beating us over the head.
If there's a disappointing moment on the record, it's when "Heretics" pulls back from the drama of its swirling intro and slips into a mixture of spoken and sung lines instead of just going hell-for-leather to a big chorus. Otherwise, the biggest criticism you could level at it is that it's not better than the three albums that came before it-- but that scarcely matters when you're actually listening to it, because Armchair Apocrypha is ultimately another object of strange and unique beauty from this inventive songwriter and performer.
Rank: for Being subtle is one of the most difficult things to do in music. It takes great production skills, compositional skills, and the mind to know when to use it.
Generally, there are two sides to the use of subtlety. Most artists fall under this category. Andrew Bird is one of the first to fall under the opposite category. His music on Armchair Apocrypha is almost too subtle. There is so much hidden underneath the main voices, but it is too hidden, too hard to find.
For that reason, on my first few listens of Armchair Apocrypha, I was very disappointed. I gave it one more chance and I really paid attention.
At that point, the subtleties came out and realized what an intricate, beautiful album Armchair Apocrypha is. It is a prime example of a grower. If there were any time for him to grasp onto some indie fame, now would be the time. Armchair Apocrypha does not expand upon the sound of Eggs. The slurred style of his vocals might pass the listener by without any recollection, as his voice blends right into the music perfectly.
It would be a great travesty to miss his wit and brilliant lyricism. With almost child-like lyrics, Bird gets across messages that some of the greatest lyricists of our time would have trouble conjuring metaphors for. He opens one of the best tracks on the album, Dark Matter , with this stanza.
Musically, the song layers multiple guitars, vocal harmonies, and a simple driving drum beat into one huge sound, like a much more controlled U2.
However, instead of staying at this big sound, he brings it down to simple instrumentation and back up again masterfully.
Although it is hard to hear on the first few listens, the album does have some variety. Simple X is an electronica-based song, full with an electronic beat and warm synthesizer melodies. Despite the active drum beat, Simple X is beautifully tranquil. If you like Andrew Bird, you may also like:. I forgive you mother, I can hear you. The Ascension by Sufjan Stevens. It is one of Sufjan's most intricate works and at the same it bursts with feeling.
Really a rewarding and overall moving listening experience. Wooden Cave by Thin Lear. Thin Lear's sophisticated rock music is tempered with soaring chamber pop accents and an undeniable gift for melody.
Aidan Knight by Aidan Knight. Canadian singer-songwriter Aidan Knight makes indie folk-rock that's sophisticated, but never loses its sense of genuine intimacy. This Month by Stone Irr. Recalling a month of dreams and nightmares, Bloomington, IN, songwriter releases cassette of fireside ditties. Slowdive by Slowdive. Explore music. Armchair Apocrypha by Andrew Bird. Ian Dunbar.
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Track Listing. Fiery Crash. Andrew Bird. Dark Matter. Simple X.
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