The Impossible Bird is an album of incredibly beautiful and moving songs. In style, it is country music, but a very intelligent type of country. There are two styles of song here: the soulful ballad like The Beast In me, Shelley My Love, Where Is My Everything, Lover Don't Go and Withered On the Vine, and the more uptempo numbers like Trail Of tears, 12-Step Programme and I Live On a Battlefield. I find the ballads more appealing, and they are certainly unforgettable songs. The melodies are simple but gripping and the lyrics poetic without being pretentious. The highlights on this masterpiece of an album are The Beast In Me, in which the Shadow is addressed, the poignant Where Is My Everything, a song of resignation without self-pity and full of humour, the heartbreaking Lover Don' Go and the achingly beautiful Withered On The Vine. I loved Nick Lowe's sparkling brand of clever punk back in the 1970s, especially songs like I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass, Marie Provost, Tonight and So It Goes from his brilliant Pure Pop For Now People album. However the 1990s Lowe, as he emerges on Impossible Bird, is even more tuneful and more talented than the rocker of yore. This album is one of the obscure masterpieces of rock and these songs have an appeal that ought to transcend all musical boundaries.