Andrew Bird releases yet another outstanding album

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Andrew Bird has always been an outstanding figure in the music scene. 

Using violin – in which he has a Bachelor’s degree in performance – electric guitar, glockenspiel, voice and even whistling, Bird creates an entirely distinctive and hypnotic sound that is guaranteed to catch your ear upon first listen. 

His first self-produced album, “Break It Yourself,” is not any sort of innovation for Bird fans, but rather a focus on stripping down and highlighting the greatest parts of Bird’s music while at the same time shifting the thematic tone of his music to a more humanistic place. 

Simple yet jaunty pop structures broken up by pointed whistling and spellbinding violin interludes make up the core of the album. 

Of course, there are parts where he strays from this basic formula, as he does on the track “Near Death Experience,” but these songs serve as welcomed breaks of experimentation. 

As hinted at by the sepia-toned cover featuring a child and a toy horse, the overall mood is decidedly intimate and gentle. This is the most important break from his previous albums, as Bird was more prone to focus on scientific and academic concepts such as palindromes and dark matter for lyrical material in his previous work. 

Bird always focused on these academic concepts with an eye on demonstrating the complexity of the everyday world, but in “Break It Yourself,” he seems more interested in reflecting instead on our world while keeping the basic structure of his quirky lyrical and musical content intact.  

In shifting to a more straightforward style, Bird has created his most relatable and catchy album yet, and perhaps even his best. With every listen, the subtle beauty of the simplified and focused songs becomes more and more apparent. 

The crown jewel of the album, “Hole in the Ocean Floor,” captures the album’s overall shift in a grand eight-minute journey through all of the elements that make Andrew Bird one of the most interesting current musicians.

At 38, Bird remains one of the most consistent musicians in the alternative music scene. With “Break It Yourself,” he demonstrates that there is still plenty of rosin left on his bow.