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Soldier On

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iTunes Review

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.  

Customer Reviews

great e.p.

this is an e.p., not a full album. obviously the plasticities and heretics versions are for the fans. "how you gonna keep 'em down" is beautiful and "oh sister" is a perfect cover. andrew bird is amazing. if you are just now being turned on to him, pick up 'the mysterious production of eggs' and 'armchair apocrypha' first and then delve into his extensive catalog from there.

Most Excellent!

I've listened to this EP about a million times in the last few days. Love it! Andrew Bird's music continues to evolve. His voice seems stronger and more nuanced on this than almost anything else I've heard. This stuff is so current with nods to American folk roots, Eastern Europe and Asia, and the many other twists and turns that make up his signature sound. If you like Andrew Bird already -- buyt it! If you're new to his music, it's a grand introduction.

I expect more...

I'm a big fan of Bird's, but this album lacks any new standouts and attempts to get by with a remix of a previous gem and an early incarnation of the previous albums standout song. Okay, but a bit of a let down if you ask me.


Born: July 11, 1973 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Chicago singer/songwriter/violinist Andrew Bird updates the traditions of small-group swing, German lieder, and New Orleans jazz, mixing Gypsy, folk, and rock elements into his distinctive style. Bird's projects include his group the Bowl of Fire (which also includes drummer Kevin O'Donnell, bassist Josh Hirsch, and guitarist Colin Bunn) and performing as an auxiliary member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers; in turn, the Zippers' Katharine Whalen and James Mathus appeared on the Bowl of Fire albums Thrills...
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