Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself
With ‘Break It Yourself’ Andrew Bird shows that he’s as unique as ever. The talent for song titles, ‘Eyeoneye’, ‘Polynation’, ‘Near Death Experience Experience’. The penchant for elusive lyrics. “Exiled your close advisors. Ousted your dog, your rabbits. You’re through with pasifizers”. And then there’s the music. The looping. The whistling. This could only be an album by Andrew Bird. But this is a slightly different Andrew Bird album from its two predecessors. There’s more pizzicato. Fewer overdubs. The pace is slower. The sound more mournful. Cold even. On ‘Near Death Experience Experience’ he pictures a plane plummeting to earth with the seemingly inevitable result. But, thankfully, there’s nothing wrong. “And we’ll dance like cancer survivors”, he sings. “Like we’re grateful simply to be alive”. And yet, it doesn’t seem like a great party. If there’s dancing, it’ll be a tea dance, not a rave. Contrast that to ‘Fiery Crash’ from ‘Armchair Apocrypha’ where he pictured exactly the same scenario but made it sound like a great way to go. The downbeat nature of the album can be seen most clearly on the penultimate track, ‘Hole In the Ocean Floor’, all 8 minutes 18 seconds of it. It grows gradually to a crescendo, right? No. It meanders. It’s very Andrew Bird. An infinite variety of strings. But it doesn’t welcome you in. ‘Break It Yourself’ is yet another great Andrew Bird album, but unlike his other recent albums it’s a difficult one to love.