Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs
The Music Box's #4 album of 2005
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2005, Volume 12, #2
Written by T.J. Simon
On Andrew Birdís fifth CD The Mysterious Production of Eggs, he delivers 14 immensely satisfying excursions into the world of ambient chamber pop. This follows his 2001 release The Swimming Hour, a pleasing romp through Beatles-influenced fare, and 2003ís Weather Systems, a sleepy effort that waded too deeply into self-indulgent violin experimentation. For its part, The Mysterious Production of Eggs distinguishes itself as the perfect midpoint between the two efforts, simply because he crafted something that is both accessible to the mainstream and innovative in its artistic approach.
Bird drew upon the considerable talents of his former Bowl of Fire band-mates, and Nora OíConnor can be heard singing background vocals, while Kevin OíDonnell plays drums. Still, itís Birdís game, and he, being a virtuoso violinist, squeezes sounds from the instrument that are rare to hear. For example, he employs an array of interesting effects to thicken its tone, and he often plays it like a guitar. Wisely, he chose to bury his violin behind more standard instrumentation on The Mysterious Production of Eggs, using it to provide considerable atmosphere to his already compelling compositions. Contemporary influences including M. Ward, Matt Pond PA, and Sufjan Stevens shine through the slow to mid-tempo numbers Sovay and A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left, while Skin Is, My recalls the retro, French pop of Paris Combo.
The Mysterious Production of Eggs boasts Birdís best vocal performance to date, most notably on the discís most straightforward pop track The Naming of Things. Elsewhere, his signature fluttering whistle carries the ball alongside the minimal instrumentation on the pleasing number MX Missiles. Throughout the outing, Bird employs obtuse, but undeniably poetic lyrics that are filled with some striking visual imagery, and although it isnít always clear about what Bird is singing, he never fails to leave a lasting impression. With his move to Ani DiFrancoís Righteous Babe label and an opening slot on her current tour, Birdís profile and exposure are likely to increase immensely. Thank goodness that he, at least, has produced an album that can support the weight of this newfound attention.
The Mysterious Production of Eggs is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box