Armchair Apocrypha

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 71 out of 73
  2. Negative: 1 out of 73

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  1. Oct 17, 2011
    8
    At times haunting, often delicate, always clever. A fantastic blend of sounds and styles. This record has some unique and beautiful songs on it. A mix of solid pop melodies and very interesting lyrical themes the whole way through. It took me a few listens to get into it but I was well rewarded in the end. A very good record from a multi-talented musician and songwriter.
  2. LarsP.
    Sep 24, 2007
    10
    Just take 12 really catchy pop songs - ones that you can't but help but like, despite how cool you are - and then layer it a gazillion times with unheard of instrument combinations (love that whistle), poetry, and an extremely talented musician...voila: Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha. It gets better with every listen; the layers of complexity never stop unraveling. Bird Just take 12 really catchy pop songs - ones that you can't but help but like, despite how cool you are - and then layer it a gazillion times with unheard of instrument combinations (love that whistle), poetry, and an extremely talented musician...voila: Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha. It gets better with every listen; the layers of complexity never stop unraveling. Bird manages to pull it off without coming off as an arrogant uptight indie snob. Expand
  3. DanB.
    Sep 5, 2007
    8
    It doesn't have standouts like the last album, but at the same time, there are no weak moments. It's an album you can really listen to from start to finish without wanting to skip a moment. So. It's not the most amazing album--it's not forceful, doesn't make itself absolutely necessary--but it's still really good. In the end, short of an album's worth of It doesn't have standouts like the last album, but at the same time, there are no weak moments. It's an album you can really listen to from start to finish without wanting to skip a moment. So. It's not the most amazing album--it's not forceful, doesn't make itself absolutely necessary--but it's still really good. In the end, short of an album's worth of crack-good single-worthy tunes that somehow also congeal into a solid album (see: anything by the Beatles?), what more can you ask for? Expand
  4. shes_soloose
    Aug 31, 2007
    7
    The Mysterious Production of Eggs was my favourite album for 2005. This one is different, and good, but largely inferior. Still, a worthy record by an amazing artist.
  5. Blake
    Aug 13, 2007
    10
    Simply superb! Andrew Bird is unique songwriter.
  6. NicM
    Jun 22, 2007
    9
    Though I was a bit disappointed at first, this album as really, REALLY grown on me. better than Eggs in almost every way (which is saying something as I love that album, too), this album will make your head explode and your brains melt because it's so good. head explode.
  7. BenL.
    Jun 13, 2007
    10
    This deserves a 10 on pure technical prowess alone. Andrew Bird is one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists working today. When you add his quirky charm and his excellent sense of composition . . .
  8. OofF.
    May 28, 2007
    9
    I listen to your record while I'm reading sharktext. It makes a nice soundtrack.
  9. romanm.
    May 1, 2007
    6
    Truly unique sound. Works well in a live setting (even the god-awful Riviera). The fuller band sound improves upon Eggs, which had great original music in its own right. But I can't give this dude a pass on his faux Buckley singing and ridiculous lyrics. Check the lyric sheet. He drops $10 words to pander to all the too-cool-to-rule-the-school-self-important hipsters out there. Oh Truly unique sound. Works well in a live setting (even the god-awful Riviera). The fuller band sound improves upon Eggs, which had great original music in its own right. But I can't give this dude a pass on his faux Buckley singing and ridiculous lyrics. Check the lyric sheet. He drops $10 words to pander to all the too-cool-to-rule-the-school-self-important hipsters out there. Oh and none if it makes any sense. Look! He said something about Haliburton attache cases! Machinations and palindromes! Give me a break. Pulling out pages of the Radiohead playbook and pawning it off to all the other people who take themselves too seriously. Thanks, but I'll wait for something more real. Expand
  10. ToddW
    Apr 27, 2007
    9
    All of you lemmings hurtling over the cliff of our popular culture, keep on passing go. Do not get out of your armchairs and collect albums like this. Leave us be, those of us who actually enjoy interesting music and insightful lyrics which abound on the latest offering from Mr. Bird. Like the fowl on the cover, we turn our backs on you if you don't pick up this release and enjoy it All of you lemmings hurtling over the cliff of our popular culture, keep on passing go. Do not get out of your armchairs and collect albums like this. Leave us be, those of us who actually enjoy interesting music and insightful lyrics which abound on the latest offering from Mr. Bird. Like the fowl on the cover, we turn our backs on you if you don't pick up this release and enjoy it immensely. Every song is a treasure trove of found instruments and lyrical alacrity. Bird's violin is almost an afterthough on most of these songs, that's how rich is their sound. It's hard to believe this guy has 10 albums under his belt and is still flying under the radar. Wait a minute, that is heretical. It's easy to understand if you just turn on the radio. An early candidate for album of the year, it reveals itself more and more stunning with each listen. Expand
  11. NickD
    Apr 25, 2007
    9
    Excellent album. "Spare-ohs" for Songs: Ohia / Magnolia Electric Co. fans.
  12. AlecW
    Apr 9, 2007
    9
    I have no beef with "Eggs," but I rate this album higher mostly because of it's accessibility to listeners. Bird has nothing to prove following a production like "Eggs," and he doesnt make the mistake of stretching himself thin and trying to break ground that shouldn't be broken just because he can. He stays within himself and created a beautiful collection that is one of the I have no beef with "Eggs," but I rate this album higher mostly because of it's accessibility to listeners. Bird has nothing to prove following a production like "Eggs," and he doesnt make the mistake of stretching himself thin and trying to break ground that shouldn't be broken just because he can. He stays within himself and created a beautiful collection that is one of the early must-listen's of 2007. A spell-binding, majestic work from one of the great young innovators that everyone should hold dear. Expand
  13. PatrickM
    Apr 7, 2007
    10
    This is the strangest mix of sounds I've heard on a record, but it works, it works extremely well! I love it! So much so I went back and bought his previous effort. But the key to really enjoying this music is to don some headphones or sit in front of your stereo completely free of all others sounds/distractions and just let the music soak in.
  14. RG
    Apr 5, 2007
    8
    not as charming as mysterious but there are some real gems on this record, especially armchairs. i ve seen that been performed live and the recorded version lives up to it. on the other hand imitosis is not as danceable or as catchy and gets repetitive than when played live. i know its kinda stupid to compare bird's record to his live but he is unbelievable live and he had an almost not as charming as mysterious but there are some real gems on this record, especially armchairs. i ve seen that been performed live and the recorded version lives up to it. on the other hand imitosis is not as danceable or as catchy and gets repetitive than when played live. i know its kinda stupid to compare bird's record to his live but he is unbelievable live and he had an almost perfect record last time out. scythian empire is subtle and beautiful. plasticities would have perfectly fit into mysterious. The little instrumentals are littler masterpieces that help the record and the ender is one of the best closing tracks in ages, the fittingly titled yawny at the apocalypse. Expand
  15. ScottW
    Apr 3, 2007
    9
    2007 is the year for many of my favorite bands' new releases. After being painfully disappointed by the Arcade Fire, I picked up Andrew Bird's "Amrchair Apocrypha" to revive my faith in music. If you're an Andrew Bird fan, you'll love this album; it is just as good as the last one.
  16. ElizabethP
    Apr 3, 2007
    9
    From the very first song, "Fiery Crash", you know this is going to be a great album. This is a gorgeous, contemplative album. The best songs are "Armchairs", "Fiery Crash", and "Imitosis". I didn't like the female guest vocals on this album, I think her voice is a little whiny. Another downside is the weird album production. "Mysterious Production..." featured beautifully crafted From the very first song, "Fiery Crash", you know this is going to be a great album. This is a gorgeous, contemplative album. The best songs are "Armchairs", "Fiery Crash", and "Imitosis". I didn't like the female guest vocals on this album, I think her voice is a little whiny. Another downside is the weird album production. "Mysterious Production..." featured beautifully crafted drawings but the booklet for this album features random picture after picture of the back of birds' heads. BUt other than a few minor imperfections, this is a great followup cd. Expand
  17. andy
    Apr 3, 2007
    9
    The best album of the year so far and one of the only albums released this year I can listen to in it's entirety; not one weak track here.
  18. DMarsh
    Mar 29, 2007
    10
    Armchair Apocrypha, Neon Bible (The Arcade Fire), Everything All The Time (Band of Horses), and Howl (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) are my favorite four albums of the past two years.
  19. DecoyMouse
    Mar 28, 2007
    10
    WOW. Great stuff. Need I say more? Just listen to it.
  20. RyanH
    Mar 28, 2007
    9
    pfft... since when was Blender a credible source for music reviews... yah I guess the Maxim reading frat boy crowd probably won't like this album, too bad the review has to bring down the average score of this great album.
  21. Alex
    Mar 27, 2007
    10
    I want to marry him. NOW.
  22. martinc
    Mar 23, 2007
    9
    Not as great to me as the Mysterious Production of Eggs album, as it seems Bird is trying to follow mainstream and progress towards that then what he masterfully accomplished in the previous album, but still great with amazing wordplay as is his style.
  23. PatrickD
    Mar 22, 2007
    10
    The most accessible effort form an incredible multi-instrumentalist.
  24. kdevilh
    Mar 22, 2007
    9
    I thought "...Eggs" was a fantastic record, but I enjoy AB's latest even more. I think this record has a more even consistency -, the peaks aren't quite as high (think Tables and Chairs) and the lows are infrequent. As always his instrumentation and set a gerat tone for all his songs - but in some standouts: Heretics & Plasticities. One of my favorite in 2007 thus far.
  25. DarnellW
    Mar 21, 2007
    9
    Andrew Bird has certainly made a strong follow-up to Eggs, and has created my favorite album of 2007, so far. After reading several reviews, I would have to agree on a few points; first, I too don't really care for the all too clever Imitosis. I guess I'm tiring of the palindrome references. It's not bad by any means, just a wee too cute. The album is very cohesive and Andrew Bird has certainly made a strong follow-up to Eggs, and has created my favorite album of 2007, so far. After reading several reviews, I would have to agree on a few points; first, I too don't really care for the all too clever Imitosis. I guess I'm tiring of the palindrome references. It's not bad by any means, just a wee too cute. The album is very cohesive and consistently wonderful. I too thought Armchairs was very Jeff Buckley in style and vocal characteristics. Cataracts is a gorgeous song. Scythian Empire acts as a gentle wake-up nudge to the hypnotics that preceded it. Spare-Ohs has AB sharing whistling duties with a bird, probably a sparrow, and is a rather scathing, scolding curse on an uncaring and toxic world.. Which brings us to the closer, Yawny at the Apocolypse. Not a yawner by any means, but a beautiful way to end Bird's most dynamic album yet. A classic Expand
  26. sethw
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    In a month of anticipated releases, some of them dissapointing (Bloc Party, RJD2), some of them meeting or exceeding expectations (Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, El-P) I find myself putting all of these aside to listen to this album over and over, and it gets better each time. I've lived with his other albums for longer and this one for two days, so I'm not about to call it his In a month of anticipated releases, some of them dissapointing (Bloc Party, RJD2), some of them meeting or exceeding expectations (Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, El-P) I find myself putting all of these aside to listen to this album over and over, and it gets better each time. I've lived with his other albums for longer and this one for two days, so I'm not about to call it his best-yet. I do now that ever since Oh the Grandeur each album gets better (in my humble opinion) and Bird slowly becomes my favorite artist. Besides all that, this album (as much as one can tell after 36 hours) is brilliant Expand
  27. TimmerK
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    Another spectacular release from Andrew Bird. The album's production is as meticulous as you could hope for yet it maintains a smart indie sensibility about it. Bird is in no hurry on this album, much to the benefit of his listeners.
  28. JamesD
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    A great follow-up album, after a few listens can't put it down
  29. Yehuda
    Mar 21, 2007
    10
    Even better than The Mysterious Production.
  30. andresL
    Mar 20, 2007
    8
    It gets very slow at the end but there are some great songs in it. maybe is a grower like the last one. i used to listen to the mysterious production only up to track 10 cause after that i thought it turn a little bit monotonous, but now i think that album is perfect from the first song to the last. this one is a good follow up
  31. NickA
    Mar 20, 2007
    9
    Beautiful CD, more diverse than Eggs, but still with Bird's distinct lighthearted sound.
  32. KhalidA
    Mar 20, 2007
    10
    This truly is a complete album. For everyone who downloaded this early, please buy the album; Andrew Bird deserves the support for such a superior output.
  33. AaronM
    Mar 20, 2007
    10
    Right there with Arcade Fire's new album as the best of 2007...so far
  34. ryanB.
    Mar 19, 2007
    9
    I've always adored Andrew Bird in a live setting, but found his albums lacking the passion that he brings to the stage (Weather Systems has come the closest). After hearing the first two tracks of this album, I was terrified that Bird had sunken completely into adult-contemporary territory. Then, the most remarkable thing happened. "Heretics" escaped from the speakers, and the album I've always adored Andrew Bird in a live setting, but found his albums lacking the passion that he brings to the stage (Weather Systems has come the closest). After hearing the first two tracks of this album, I was terrified that Bird had sunken completely into adult-contemporary territory. Then, the most remarkable thing happened. "Heretics" escaped from the speakers, and the album churned out five awe-inspiring tracks full of the emotion and grace that I always knew Bird was capable of, with all of the inventiveness and intelligence that he displayed on his last two records. Seriously, the stretch from "Heretics" to "Simple X" is so far above and beyond anything Bird has recorded that I was completely flabbergasted and ecstatic - rejoicing at every sound that came from my speakers. "Armchairs" is Bird's own "Lover, You Should've Come Over," a masterpiece of a ballad that begins small and builds to a completely heartbroken climax that will serve as the rubric against which all future Bird songs will be judged (his voice even sounds a little like Jeff Buckley on the song). The album eventually settles into some gorgeous folk that, if it isn't as perfect as the stretch of songs that came before it, still ends the album on beautiful note. "Yawny at the Apocalypse" is probably the best ambient closer to a non-ambient album ever recorded. And you know what? The first track grew on me. "Imitosis" still nauseates me a little compared to "I" (the original working of the song found on Weather Systems), but 11 out of 12 sure ain't bad. Expand
  35. JoeW.
    Mar 14, 2007
    8
    Definitely a solid effort. Still, it comes up a little short of 'Mysterious Production of Eggs'.
  36. matta
    Mar 14, 2007
    9
    Some of the initial reviews for this have been less than glowing, but don't let them fool you-this album is just as good as The Mysterious Production of Eggs, if not slightly better because it is more concise and tight. A few songs ramble, but Eggs was just a little too long, and that is what kept it from classic status (it was still in my top ten of 2005). Armchair is great because Some of the initial reviews for this have been less than glowing, but don't let them fool you-this album is just as good as The Mysterious Production of Eggs, if not slightly better because it is more concise and tight. A few songs ramble, but Eggs was just a little too long, and that is what kept it from classic status (it was still in my top ten of 2005). Armchair is great because he expands his sound musically, whilst keeping his incredibly oblique yet poetic lyrics. One of the best of the year so far. Expand
  37. mattH
    Mar 13, 2007
    9
    right up there with 2005's The Mysterious Production of Eggs, if not slightly better...superb album!
  38. KB
    Mar 7, 2007
    9
    Hooked from the start!
  39. A.Connor
    Feb 19, 2007
    9
    Honestly; pretty damn superb. Every song essential, every song interesting, and (quietly but undeniably) every song beautiful. Andrew Bird achieves a greater emotional effect with his whistling than 98% of singers do with their voices. Since first hearing this album, I don't think I've let more than 10 hours pass without listening to it anew.
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Making no palpable effort to crack the conventional with overflowing melodies and love songs, Bird instead latches up the intellect to create tiny packages of literature that make always leave you thinking--and snapping your fingers at the same time.
  2. Blender
    60
    The music's intellectualism obscures as many truths as it unveils. [Mar 2007, p.130]
  3. Spin
    80
    This stream-of-consciousness head trip blends tricky, delicious melodies and slippery lyrics, yet never lapses into annoyingly smug artiness. [Mar 2007, p.88]