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The Clearing

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iTunes Review

North Carolina's Bowerbirds continue their transition into a more polished musical act. Their rougher quirks are mostly smoothed over here, with an overall sound that aims for beauty but still manages to be plenty unusual. While Philip Moore and Beth Tacular broke up for a spell, they're back together with the release of this album, and the joy of finding one another informs the songs in subtle ways. "Brave World" takes askew harmonies and ragtag percussion and constructs an arrangement that holds together on a wish. "Hush" brings Tacular to the front of the line, while a ghostly choir and piano sound like they're hanging around a bar that's about to close. "Overcome with Light" and "Watch the Furrows" remind listeners that there are still folk roots tucked away in Bowerbirds' unique approach. There's no way to predict the course of "Death Wish" or "Now We Hurry On," where the sound shifts without warning and Moore's expressive vocals often sound as if they're changing their mind in mid-sentence. 

Customer Reviews

Fantastic. The best of 2012 so far.

The Clearing is soaked with musings born in the day to day occurrences of a life in the woods and the ups and down of a relationship. The guitar, piano, string and occasional horn arrangements that accompany these lyrics are performed in the distinct organized ambiguity that the Bowerbirds have perfected. In short, this album is their strongest effort to date, and perhaps the best album of 2012 so far. A sure fire Spring favorite for music lovers.


Formed: Raleigh, NC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The Bowerbirds sit on the dividing line between the freak folk contingent led by Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom and the more straightforward sunshine pop of Lavender Diamond: for all the self-conscious quirkiness of their lineup and instrumentation, there's an unfeigned positivity to their music that's refreshingly direct. The roots of the Bowerbirds lie in the Raleigh, NC, indie rock trio Ticonderoga, who were led by singer and guitarist Phil Moore. During the recording of the trio's second...
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The Clearing, Bowerbirds
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Customer Ratings