This is the third solo album from Jethro Tull frontman and guiding force Ian Anderson. Here we find him in a typically creative and playful mood. The songs are largely acoustic, with a folksy jazzy tinge to them. They are, however, all uniquely Ian Anderson's own personal style, and quite distinct from his work with Tull. This is a delightful album, good natured and full of humour (the double meaning of the album title for instance), and is a really feel good listen. Highly recommended.
Finally the album fans have always demanded of Anderson -- and he delivers with aplomb, wit, finesse, and endless inventiveness. It's a wonder Birds hasn't become a classic among Tullites, since it easily surpasses Tull's outings from the nineties onwards. While it may not have the flying sparks of "The Witch's Promise" or the cheeky melodies of "LIfe's A Long Song", this acoustic dish satisfies more with each listening. Perhaps its near cult status owes to the fact that it steers away from rock and a heavy band sound, focusing on that folk playfulness Ian masters so charmingly.
The acoustic backdrop brings many treasures to the fore. Anderson's voice, for one. It feels effortless and nimble without the strain of a rock setting. While his enunciation in such a context allows him to bring out more shades of personality, it also evokes both a range of moods and genuine intimacy. Second, the songwriting is freer, jauntier, and often delicate and subtle. And in every song it's top notch. Further, there's a beguiling light touch, carefree yet wise as well as a wryly amused attitude to both the music and Anderson's observations.
My only quibble is with the seemingly digital engineering. The sound is shallow and a tad flat, highlighting how much more depth and roundedness acoustic instrumentation gains from analog recording. Well, one more quibble comes to mind. That's Gidding's orchestration. It veers dangerously towards the 'lite' side and robs the instrumentation of gravitas. Matter of taste, really.
Still, this is Anderson's best solo work (Rupi's Dance has nothing on Birds). Here's hoping a Part II is in the offing.
As a long time Jethro Tull fan, I have always loved Ian Anderson's inventiveness and lyrics but for some strange reason I have never listened to any of his solo albums before now. I bought this following a recent gig where he performed TAAB and TAAB2 and overheard someone raving about some of solo albums. So glad I listened in.
This album is superb and wish I had bought it sooner - very jazz/ folk sound , very acoustic and flute driven and rapidly becoming a favourite album after 2 days!
There are no corners to this album. Smooth as silk playing, especially flute, composing, arrangements and songs. A gentle, pastoral collection that rewards true listening. Yes if you are a fan of Tull you will like this. but it stands equally well on its own as a virtuoso solo anderson peformance. An excellent album from a master muscian.
On this album you can hear the many influences that are included from his travels around the world .Although primerily a rock/ folk singer Ian ndersons voice has never sounded better.It has a depth and maturity which fits in well with this particular type of album .If you like jethro tull you will enjy this album.if you like folk music you will love it.