This is a wonderful album but will (unfortunately) only appeal to a minority. All but one of the tracks are instrumentals of the most delicate kind. I don't know anything about music theory but it seems to me there is a sense of an oriental influence, and some of the tracks wouldn't be out of place as a soundtrack for a documentary on China, Japan or Tibet. This iis also a difficult album to classify - it at times feels more like classical music than indie pop. Then again I did say I don't know much about music theory. Anyway I love it so 5 stars from me!
Given Andrew Bird's prolific output he rarely produces anything less than essential. This stately and elegant collection of mostly instrumental pieces is no exception. It has a focus and depth that exceeds even his own high standards. Whilst all his LP's of recent years have been to my mind faultless some of his other EP's and side-projects (Norman OST and Useless Creatures for example) have perhaps relied too heavily upon the loop-pedal techniques he's perfected in live performance where pizzicato violin grooves/riffs are recorded, multi-tracked and improvised over. Quite often this'll demonstrate Bird's technical gifts as a violinist to great effect but, where it's mostly modal music, the listener can often be left wanting in terms of harmonic progression. Pulaski as a whole differs in this regard. Much more thought has gone into the composition of the individual pieces ("Hover 1" and "Hover 2" being the highlights). By allowing more space and lightness to creep into this music Bird has created an accessible, delightful and subtle collection which I suspect will charm and reward fans and non-fans alike.