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My last encounter with Andrew Bird was with his wonderful 2009 album
'Noble Beast'. A multi-instrumentalist/composer, Mr Bird is blessed with
a beguiling sense of how to make both melody and rhythm work to his (and
our) advantage. His new recording 'Break It Yourself' takes us deeper still
into the machinations of a singular and rare musical imagination. The ambience
of the project is largely pastoral; the substantially acoustic nature of
these fourteen compositions both tease and enchant with their varied textures
and elusive moods. To top it all Mr Bird has a very fine voice; clear and
unaffected and sincere (he also continues to employ the all-but-lost art of
whistling - Bird by name, bird by nature I guess - which wins him further points!)

Opening track 'Desparation Breeds...' is a stunner. Studded with pizzicato
violin accents and haunting harmonies, the staccato arrangement forms a
perfect scaffold for the magical central vocal performance. The blissfully
simple 'Danse Carribe' is full of warm sunshine and breaking waves and seems
to have been touched by the sensibility of 'Astral Weeks'-era Van Morrison.
'Lazy Projector' sports a delightful tune (and yet more whistling!) whose
timeless quality soothes like the reassuring handshake of an old friend and
final track 'Belles' conjures the long shadows of a late summer evening.
It is to 'Hole In The Ocean Floor', however, to which we must look to discover
the full range of Mr Bird's consummate artistic skills. The ecstatic violin
decorations and melismatic vocal are nothing if not a magical tours de force.


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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 March 2012
Since his release of Noble Beast Andrew Bird has kept himself busy. He has contributed to compilations, toured extensively and even put a soundtrack together for the film Norman. In fact its with part of that soundtrack that he opens proceedings here with the into to Desperation Breeds. This time between albums has also contributed to a slight change of sound and emphasis. The whistling, violins and vocals are here as usual. However, some tracks have an almost celtic feel to them at times. What is also different this time around is that Break It Yourself isn't as immediate as previous offerings. The pace, on the whole, is more downbeat here - but as ever things can tend to pick up during the course of a song as they do on Danse Caribe at the halfway point.

The fourteen tracks here span the emotions in the lyrics and the music. Give It Away is a light number, for example, with guitar and violins working well to underpin the vocals. The subject matter is slightly darker than the mood and it works. Lazy Projector is typical Andrew Bird material that is slightly slow paced and almost maudlin. But is a beautiful number that works with its instrumentation. Lusitania contains the requisite whistling but also St Vincent as a duet that works well. However, there is an almost wistful feeling left by the breeziness of this track and that is true of many of the numbers here.

This isn't as good as Noble Beast. Not immediately at least. It rewards more on every listen and different tracks stand out each time. So it will be some time until I grow weary of it. However, its still very good and whilst it may not bring new fans it will be well received by those familiar with Andrew Bird.
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on 14 March 2012
What a gorgeous album. I have not been this captivated for a long, long time. Out of fourteen songs, eight are truly sublime (especially the guitar-picking Orpheo Looks Back) but everytime I listen, I find a new favourite. Understated but elegant, the melodies are sweet, the singing warm and heartfelt. I wasn't an Andrew Bird fan but I'm off to find absolutely everything he has done based on this superb album!
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on 17 February 2015
This is my favourite Andrew Bird Album by far, there isn't a song on it that I don't love. Favourites are the title track Give it Away, Lazy Projector and Lusitania. The album cover is beautiful and it comes with a bonus insert with Bird's fabulous lyrics. The cover is cardboard so it can be a struggle to get the CDs out without damaging it, I would suggest you handle with care.
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on 20 October 2014
I'm not one for writing reviews but I thought I would for this wonderful album. I hesitated in purchasing it myself. Some reviews seemed to suggest that whilst it is a decent enough album it doesn't stand as high as "& The Mysterious Production Of Eggs" or even "Armchair Apochypha". In my personal opinion it is better than either of those (admittedly great) albums. Where some could find disappointment is that it isn't quite so experimental or unusual as some of his previous works, but the tracks on here are really honest and warm and contain some really beautiful melodies. Everything about the sound is wonderful, his voice is really amazing and his violin and whistling are also at their best. The opening track "Desperation Breeds" is utterly beautiful and its followed (after a brief musical interlude) by the very uplifting "Danse Carribe". Other stand out tracks for me are "Lusitania" and "Sifters", but the album as a whole is really amazing and also flows really well from beginning to end. I highly recommend it!
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on 18 June 2012
I guess if you've heard of the album you know what to expect. Beautiful melodies, exquisite playing, layers of instrumentation and that wonderful voice. Some of the songs haven't clicked for me yet and some of the production is a bit abrasive. But it's a great album. Highly recommended.
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on 29 June 2012
I am new to Andrew Bird. When listening to this album I have an imaginary conversation with my freinds.
'Who is this then guys?'
'Hey, that's David Byrne!'
'No way man, thats Paul Simon'
'No no no, that's James Taylor surely!'
'Hang on, isn't that an early Galaxie 500 track?'
I would love to chat to Mr Bird and ask him who his influences are, possibly all of those above. There isn't a duff track on this album, it's fabulous. If like me you enjoy buying music by artists that are new to you, taking a chance in other words, then take a chance with this. My guess is that, like me, you will be hugely impressed.
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on 15 March 2012
The vinyl release for this is very good, and the sound surpasses most other records released on vinyl these days.
The album itself is very solid, not his best, but overall very fun and charming.
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on 17 November 2014
Good sounds, worth buying if you like the artist
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on 5 March 2015
top bird
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