Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs (2005)
Wegawam Music Co
By Aaron Burkhalter
Passing trends and fads guarantee two things for the benefiting musicians: 15 minutes of fame, followed immediately by a lifetime of passé obscurity. The moment Neo Swing jumped into the VH1 spotlight, it was no longer viable outside of the adult contemporary novelty market.
Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire was doomed from the beginning. After his second album of Americana/gypsy/folk music, inappropriately associated with the dying trend, it seemed as though Bird’s unsung talent was doomed to obsolescence.
However, Bird may be the only musician that actually escaped the mid 90’s swing fad. It took a lot of hard work, abandoning his original trio and putting out two albums, The Swimming Hour and Weather Systems, which have completely forsaken his world folk-infused style, to shake off his gypsy swing reputation. His last studio release, Weather Systems, is glowing evidence of Bird’s permanence and unpredictable style.
Early in his career, Bird was so capable of creating any sound or style with a chameleon voice and malleable violin that it took time for him to ground his music into its own unique voice. By now, Bird has created a style intertwining his influences onto a canvass that feels familiar but still sounding entirely unique. The result is a combination of his love of folk music from around the world, his virtuoso talent, some obscure poetry, and musical experimentation.
Early in The Mysterious Production of Eggs, “A Nervous Tic Motion To The Left” shakes the listener out of any preconceptions about the album. Bird features sporadic bursts of electric guitars, ethereal Theremin-like whistling and restrained fractured electric beats. “Fake Palindromes” follows, with Indian violin over a catchy tempo, showcasing Bird’s pop sensibilities. “Tables and Chairs” featuring the same style of vocal interplay between Bird and Nora O’Connor as on Weather Systems.
Bird has proven himself to be more than a mere novelty, but a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer. Bird is an eccentric, ambiguous performer not at all like Tom Waits, but attaining the same air of self-definition. Bird accomplishes what most musicians should try – the incorporation of the history of all music without remaining rigidly within any doctrine. – (9/10)
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