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Andrew Bird

Break It Yourself (Mom + Pop)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 16, 2012

SXSW 2012 Records

Andrew Bird

Break It Yourself (Mom + Pop)

Andrew Bird's great challenge has always been reconciling virtuosic violin eccentricities and oblique winding verses with the emotional resonance that is underneath, especially since the Chicago singer-songwriter approaches everything from a tangent. 2009's Noble Beast found a finer balance without diluting any classic Birdsian flourishes, but his sixth solo LP may be his best yet. "Danse Caribe" and "Eyeoneye" both serve as stunningly rich, rare singles – the former delicately swaying with a blend of Caribbean and Highlands rhythms against Bird's gypsy trill, and the latter showcasing an anthemic, blustering pop surge that cuts with new, at times almost Spoon-ish, verve. As the album progresses, it settles behind the existential swoons of "Lazy Projector," the vivid swirls of "Orpheo Looks Back," and floating tremble of "Sifters," while "Lusitania" turns the sinking ship into a love metaphor in a duet with St. Vincent's Annie Clark. If Bird breaks mainstream, it's now. (Wed., 12:30am, Stubb's)

****

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