black-rebel-motorcycle-club-M-Review-No25BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB

Specter at the Feast


Inspired by the popularity of his old-timey sets on his last tour, Andrew Bird returns less than a year after his last record, Break It Yourself. For this eight-song companion piece, the violinist and his band recorded in a barn around a single microphone. The approach was old fashioned, but the song selection was anything but. On the lone traditional tune, “Railroad Bill,” Bird’s jaunty fiddling and the band’s hoots and hollers belie the dark subject matter. Elsewhere, Bird mixes covers and well-written originals. His unadorned tenor suits the material, whether it’s a bluesy “When That Helicopter Comes” or a gentle “If I Needed You.” Bookending the album are “Three White Horses” and “Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses.” The latter recalls the ambitious sound of Bird’s previous efforts, while the former, with its stripped-down sound and eerie lyrics, suggests an exciting new direction. –Juli Thanki


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