Indie rock / Folk / Alt-country-western. Millionth release from Andrew Bird. All tracks are covers of songs by The Handsome Family. The internet was mixed, but I like it, Bird basically took country-western songs and re-framed them with a cerebral music school prep voice. The beginnings of some songs are a little weak, or maybe unconvincing/not confident, but get much better and more fluid once they develop. Sadly, it is whistle sparse. He has a solo on track 9 and a bar or two on track 1. FCC clean. Play 2, 10, 1, 5. RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine, The Handsome Family.
1. (3:59) Cathedral in the Dell. ** Pretty vocals and acoustic country western vibe. Not exceptional, but I like it, it’s a new direction for Andrew Bird.
2. (3:26) Tin Foiled. *** Upbeat and sparse. Upright base and violin played like a mandolin. Really beautiful. I love this song.
3. (3:31) Giant of Illinois. ** Picked acoustic guitar intro. Great production quality. Pretty song.
4. (3:31) So Much Wine, Merry Christmas. * Heavy double bass and lazy trudging strumming pattern. Pretty solo.
5. (3:43) My Sister’s Tiny Hand. ** Pretty violin and acoustic guitar accompaniment. Great folk song.
6. (3:29) The Sad Milkman. * Great production. Pretty vocals. Weird lyrics. Becomes John Prine-esque at ¾ of the way through.
7. (3:21) Don’t Be Scared. Pretty and mellow intro. Lazy strumming with beautiful vocals and again, great production. Weird blend of indie soft rock and country.
8. (2:44) Frogs Singing. * Violin intro. Somewhat standard folk, but has fairly complex instrumentals.
9. (3:01) Drunk By Noon. * Country western. Sounds pretty good. His voice is beautiful. Oh yeah, whistle solo.
10. (4:46) Far From Any Road (Be My Hand). *** Pretty and different. Imagine Bird writing a country track for Armchair Apocrypha.