Andrew Bird: Break It Yourself – review

(Bella Union)

Andrew Bird's 2009 album Noble Beast felt like a career best, yet its follow-up is even better. Where Noble Beast examined the earth, Break It Yourself is an album of the sea, of shifting sands and surging waves, sparkling spray and soft, contemplative calm. You're constantly aware of the luxuriant spaciousness of the music, but particularly in the dramatic silences of Sifters, the relaxed pacing of Hole in the Ocean Floor and the slow tides of Lazy Projector. When the sound begins to soar in Desperation Breeds and Lusitania, the effect is one of heady rapture, while the dive into powerpop in Eyeoneye is absolutely exhilarating. More attractive still is the new directness of Bird's lyrics: his duets with Annie Clark of St Vincent have the emotional resonance of old-fashioned country, and lines such as "We'll dance like cancer survivors, like we're grateful simply to be alive" are shiveringly affecting. It's the perfect album: tender without being sentimental, experimental yet accessible, utterly unique to its maker.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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