andrew bird // break it yourself
by dan morrell
Much like Noble Beast, Andrew Bird’s breakout record that landed him on the speakers of coffee shops around the country, Break It Yourself feels equally as thoughtful, endearing, and unrestricted. Bird continues his instantly recognizable motifs of entrancing and mellow vibes that feature naturalist loops, wholesome acoustic guitar, eclectic whistling, and swirls of violin that will lure listeners into a trance of wondering thoughts.
Bird’s song writing is quite exceptional throughout the album, which obviously makes for an enjoyable and effortless listen. Break It Yourself is packed with cinematic moments in songs such as “Hole in the Ocean Floor,” “Desperation Breeds,” and “Danse Carrbie” that feel as if they could be a movie score for a modern rendition of Huckleberry Finn. His blend of violin has always induced a daydreaming state upon me, causing me to envision myself wondering through a Midwestern woods on a cloudy spring day. That being said, there is not much sunshine to be found on Break It Yourself.
This is made aware with the opening track, “Desperate Breeds,” which is a melancholy song of changing times: “We keep breeding desperation/In this era of thieves/Who keep stealing respiration/From the tenderest of trees.” This melancholy vibe is perpetuated throughout the album on other thoughtfully somber songs such as “Lazy Projector,” which alludes to the destinies controlled by a master creator (God if you will) that perhaps aren’t as wonderfully constructed as they should be, and “Near Death Experience Experience,” which sounds like an anthem for a ghostly ball to which Bird provides the appropriate lyrics – “And we’ll dance like cancer survivors like your prognosis was that you should’ve died.”
To be honest, there aren’t any incredible standouts on the album. It comfortably coasts its way along, down it’s own musical river, making it so that there is a chance you might forget that you’re actually listening Break It Yourself by Andrew Bird and mistake it for your own mental soundtrack. This is not necessarily as a negative, however. Music that has the ability to transport its listener and set a scene is a beautiful experience and there is never a question as to Bird’s musical and creative genius throughout this album despite the static echelon of the tracks. To call it boring would be ignorant and miss the majesty of the mood that Bird creates. Listeners are transported into his world, which in turn becomes our own sonic expedition. All in all, it’s another solid output for the folky veteran.
favorite tracks // “hole in the ocean floor,” “desperation breeds,” “near death experience experience”
Listen to Break It Yourself now, via Spotify.