Although this is only Bird’s sophomore solo release and opponents of the album will say he is struggling to ‘find himself’ as an independent musician throughout its fourteen seemingly disconnected tracks, proponents will argue that his ability to switch genres from one LP to the next showcases Bird’s mastery for musical creation. The fact remains that although this may only be his second solo venture, following 2003’s Weather Systems, Bird has been an established artist for the past decade performing as a supporting member of Squirrel Nut Zippers and working closely with Tim Robbins for the soundtrack to his film The Cradle Will Rock.
For Eggs the Chicago native has enlisted the help of Nora O’Connor and Kevin O’Donnell, both members of his band Bowl of Fire, but all of the writing and production and the majority of the instrumentals are done by Bird himself, from acoustic guitar and violin to whistling.
From the first vocal track, “Sovay,” to closing track “The Happy Birthday Song,” Bird joins both nonsensical lyrics that inspire bizarre imagery of sex and violence such as in ironically upbeat, rushed and violin-laden “Fake Palindromes,” where Bird announces, “…we can get together / and I want to tie your wrists with leather and drill a tiny hole into your head” with presumably more thought-out vocals focusing on economic decline and the ever-popular slow death of living to create three and four minute masterpieces that combine to form an album that pushes the limits and exceeds all expectations.
I’m usually the pessimist and I have tried numerous times to find something wrong with this album. I failed. Andrew Bird has compiled a collection of music that is different from his previous, also successful, releases and it is that difference in the face of repetitive pop culture icons that makes him a fresh artist to be watched closely in upcoming years who embraces acceptance of change if it means generating something new and exciting.
(Righteous Babe Records)