Andrew Bird: My Finest Work Yet (Loma Vista) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Andrew Bird

My Finest Work Yet

Loma Vista

Apr 03, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


How many artists could get away with calling an album My Finest Work Yet? Not very many, but whistler/violinist/songwriter Andrew Bird is definitely one of them. Erudite and humorous in almost equal measure, Bird is an artist for whom there is little distinction between the sublime and the ridiculousthat's how the 45-year-old can get away with a title like that, as well as referencing WB Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" in the light, almost, jazzy swing of second track "Bloodless." That song also references the failed military uprising of 1936you know, the one that in Barcelona that kicked off the Spanish Civil Warbut really, like much of the record, it's about the political division of opinion of the USA right now and the gulf that's seemingly stretching between left and right more and more every day. It just takes a little bit more engagementand perhaps a little googlingthan your average pop song to fully understand what's going on. And that's only necessary if you really want. After allabstruse lyrics are nothing new for Andrew Bird, and on this album as on his others, they're as sing-along-able as ever.

If anything, in fact, these 10 songs are some of his most musically straightforward and accessible. "Don the Struggle," for example, still contains neo-classical flourishes and plucked violins, but it marches forward with an almost drunken swagger that grabs you immediately, while opener "Sisyphus" is an almost jolly ditty that recasts the myth of Sisyphus as a metaphor for either the times we're living in right now or the personal adversities faced by the narrator-or both. That's one of the joy of Bird's songswhile they contain esoteric, nuanced references, they can mean absolutely anything you want them to. And if you don't want to attribute meaning to them, his playful way with words"Sisyphus peered into the mist/A stone's throw from the precipice, paused"are a joy enough anyway. Elsewhere, "Fallorun" is an emotionally intense look back at what could have been, while "Manifest," is a beautifully lethargic and lamenting composition thataccording to a press releasetraces humankind's evolution from single-celled organisms to the tricky state we find ourselves in today. Of course it does. And as poignant yet surreptitiously sinister closer "Bellevue Bridge Club" rounds out My Finest Work Yet, this woeful, wonderful, wacky, and weird record certainly makes a strong case for its title. (www.andrewbird.net)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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