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Eclectic troubadour

Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs
(Righteous Babe Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 11, 2006
Andrew Bird

Review by Tony Bonyata

It's rare that a man armed with a violin as his musical weapon of choice could be on the cutting edge of a new musical landscape. But what Chicago-native Andrew Bird does with that small four-stringed instrument is rather amazing. Plucking in rhythm, bowing with a haunted fluidity and adding lovely melodies to a wealth of songs that are beautifully stark and equally thought provoking. And during many of this indie-singer / songwriter's live performances he utilizes a sampler to loop multiple layers of his violin to create new, organic versions of songs from his back catalog.
In addition to violin, Bird also provides a healthy amount of guitar and (gasp!) glockenspiel into his records, as witnessed on his latest effort entitled Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs, an album rich in both strong compositions and sumptuous pop production. Songs such as the infectious "Fake Palindromes," featuring a wonderfully dizzying violin which accentuates the hook of the number, and the lilting "Measuring Cups," which sounds as if it could fit quite comfortably in the middle of Beck's Midnight Vultures album, prove Bird a natural at pop song-craft. And like many of the best of modern indie artists Bird also incorporates a quirky element into songs, as witnessed on the salsa-spiced "Skin Is, My," where Bird feverishly plucks his violin strings, along with the dirty pop of "Banking On A Myth," which is splayed with edgy electric guitars.
Where Bird shines the brightest on this record, however, is on the more straightforward folk-pop ballads such as "Masterfade," "Tables and Chairs" and " Sovay," which is led by the hand by both a simple piano melody and Bird's warm vocal delivery. After just one listen it's apparent that we'll be hearing a lot more from this talented and eclectic troubadour.

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