8 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Andrew Bird’s particular brand of nuanced, pastoral Americana-meets-indie-folk- pop continues to evolve, with Bird packing up his violin and glockenspiel and moving out of the Balkan-folk neighborhood and into Uncle Sam’s creaky old house. This long-ish EP contains two versions of previously released songs (a pretty, stripped down “Heretics,” plus a remix version of “Plasticities”) and an iTunes bonus track from 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha (“Sic of Elephants”). There are plenty of new sounds here, though, and the clever word play of “Sic of Elephants” — Bird toys with the title and the word “sycophants” in one verse — never gets tired. Things start at a near gallop, with ghostly wailing, spooky percussion and finger-picked violin on “Trees Were Mistaken” feeling like a Morrocone-infused indie-rock track looking for a cinematic partner. On the  haunting “The Water Jet Cilice,” Bird’s voice carries the kind of impact Tim Buckley’s or Rufus Wainwright’s might, without the hyper-dramatics that color those singers’ work. His mournful take on the post-WWI “How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm” (“... once they’ve seen Paree...”) and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Oh Sister” steer this collection directly into the oeuvre of American folk.  

EDITORS’ NOTES

Andrew Bird’s particular brand of nuanced, pastoral Americana-meets-indie-folk- pop continues to evolve, with Bird packing up his violin and glockenspiel and moving out of the Balkan-folk neighborhood and into Uncle Sam’s creaky old house. This long-ish EP contains two versions of previously released songs (a pretty, stripped down “Heretics,” plus a remix version of “Plasticities”) and an iTunes bonus track from 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha (“Sic of Elephants”). There are plenty of new sounds here, though, and the clever word play of “Sic of Elephants” — Bird toys with the title and the word “sycophants” in one verse — never gets tired. Things start at a near gallop, with ghostly wailing, spooky percussion and finger-picked violin on “Trees Were Mistaken” feeling like a Morrocone-infused indie-rock track looking for a cinematic partner. On the  haunting “The Water Jet Cilice,” Bird’s voice carries the kind of impact Tim Buckley’s or Rufus Wainwright’s might, without the hyper-dramatics that color those singers’ work. His mournful take on the post-WWI “How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm” (“... once they’ve seen Paree...”) and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Oh Sister” steer this collection directly into the oeuvre of American folk.  

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