Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself (3 stars)

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself

Reasonably consistent album of simple, emotional music from multi-instrumentalist smartypants

(Bella Union)

There are signs on Break It Yourself that multi-instrumentalist and genre-hopping smartypants Andrew Bird has mellowed out somewhat. The album is reasonably consistent and settles in a gentle neo-folk groove that shows off Bird’s heartfelt songwriting. In amongst the trademark plinky-plonky guitar bits, and the whistling (it’s still there twee-lovers!) there’s lots of simple, emotional music: ‘Lazy Projector’ is a pleasingly straightforward lovesong, and ‘Sifters’ strips back the arrangement to a deftly plucked guitar and the laconic refrain: ‘My lullaby to leave by’.

However, the moments of real, affecting beauty are quite thinly spread. The rest is just ... nice. Perhaps ‘dinner party for young professionals’ nice. Break It Yourself reminds of Beck’s brilliant back-to-basics mid-career highlight Sea Change, but doesn’t quite match that album’s serene truthfulness.

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