Records - Andrew Bird (5 stars)

Andrew Bird

Armchair Apocrypha (Fargo Records)


The arch rock snobs on American music website Pitchfork decry this, the fourth Andrew Bird solo album, as brilliant, but not as good as his first three which were all pretty much perfect. Sadly, the colossal man hours required to be quite as nerdy as the encyclopaedias that compile Pitchfork are too great for anyone with a job, life, or any friends outside of their local rare vinyl vendor to even contemplate, so we’ll have to put up with this being our first exposure to the considerable talents of this stunning Illinois songwriter.

Dealing in a sound that is gently playful, comfortably wordy, good-humoured but not self-effacing, Bird constructs uncluttered songs from the smallest fragments musically but makes them sound incredibly lush. Rufus Wainwright, Pavement, Radiohead, Fiona Apple and Shellac all strive for a similar emotional clarity and this record is on par with any of them.

While others feel compelled to layer their music with affections to make them sound smart, Armchair Apocrypha is smart, not clever, but intelligent, beguiling and, well, perfect. So now to seek out those first three records . . .

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