Bird and his 10 collaborators use sound the way the impressionists daubed paint, layering elegiac violin melodies with pattering plucked notes, fuzzy or jangly guitar, clip-clop percussion, clicks and drones to create music that might be straightforwardly folky, brightly poppy or more experimental, but is always vivid and engaging.
About a third of Noble Beast coasts along like this, generating an amiable atmosphere while advancing the album's contemplations of evolution and the loss of self. But then Bird arrives at a song like 'Fitz And The Dizzyspells', or 'Anonanimal', and suddenly Noble Beast turns into a higher form of pop music, so beautifully, horrifyingly evolved.
Some songs are all middle, stuck on what might be mere bridges by, say, Rufus Wainwright or Paul Simon. Yet Bird’s open-field poetics do let a wider world creep in, from the corruption of ecosystems to the isolation that can afflict a touring musician or a declining leader alike.
Nov 28, 2013This album, "Noble Beat" is Andrew Bird's gem. His voice is in such fine form, and I love his whistilng which is flawless, the lyrics, andThis album, "Noble Beat" is Andrew Bird's gem. His voice is in such fine form, and I love his whistilng which is flawless, the lyrics, and melodies. This album is definitely one of his biggest classics. Trust me, this album will move you in a good way. Don't bother listening to it first on iTunes just go to your nearest record store (or a Best Buy or Target if you don't have a record store) and order it now!!!!… Expand
reFeb 8, 2009A great record. I'm confused by how mixed the reviews seem to be. Rock journalists have failed us again.
AlanOMar 15, 2009An absolutely brilliant album. It is lush, intricate, and detailed to the extreme. However, it presents itself as a laid back Bon Ivor/Iron An absolutely brilliant album. It is lush, intricate, and detailed to the extreme. However, it presents itself as a laid back Bon Ivor/Iron and Wine/Decemberists record...but, it is much more. musically, I would say that this album would more likelt appeal to David Sylvian fans, late-era Talk Talk, or even prefab Sprout fans simply due to it's attention to detail. I love this record and think it's by far Bird's best. I've seen a few "it didn't hit me immediatly" or "it's boring" comments...noting that I'm a long time Sylvian fan...you must have patience and give this a few listens before it becomes part of your life.… Expand
JeremyFFeb 12, 2009As good as a the previous album although some songs should have been left out... Outstanding album!
Feb 17, 2012If there's one word to describe Andrew Bird's Noble Beast, it's "unmistakable." Out of the smoldering flame of excitement generated byIf there's one word to describe Andrew Bird's Noble Beast, it's "unmistakable." Out of the smoldering flame of excitement generated by Armchair Apocrypha, Andrew Bird returns here in full force, often even more thoughtful musically that his previous masterful effort. What's most fascinating about this album is observing exactly where Bird's sensibility has shifted. From Mysterious Production's guitar heavy indie anthems to Armchair's beautifully varied textures, Andrew Bird goes a step further in Noble Beast, taking the best of Armchair while continuing to develop a distinctive sound. The heavy guitar riffs are almost all gone; instead we have a vast array of polyphony, with multiple violins played in many ways and extremely melodic guitar lines. All the while the entire album is unmistakable. This album features a number of his best songs to date. "Anonanimal" is quite possibly his most sophisticated song to date, flowing and morphing all too appropriately with more textures than we may have even thought Bird could effectively employ. Songs like "Effigy" still pull us back in the best way to Bird's songwriter, folk, sentimentality. "Not a Robot, But a Ghost" too introduces a variety of textures, vast percussion the likes of which he's rarely displayed, and overall a refreshing momentary departure from his predominantly organic sound. All the while, the versatility and ingenuity of Bird shines brilliantly forth through Noble Beast.
That's not to say the album doesn't have its weak points. Songs like "Nomenclature" and "Natural Disaster" feel slightly lackluster, or rather perhaps simply stale given the ambition of the rest of the album. But moments of weakness are only brief and intermittent, always flowing gorgeously into some marvelous. And where Armchair runs out of steam over its last half, Noble Beast stays totally fresh over the whole album.
What's struck me about criticism of this album is how misplaced they seem to be. I've read things like "the pizzicato violin is missing," which first of all is false, and second completely refuses to acknowledge the breadth of phenomenal texture and polyrhythm Bird explores here. On the whole, all this album has to offer is a wondrous experience in the present and a faith that no matter what, Andrew Bird will always have something new to offer us, and it will always sound good.… Expand
Nov 3, 2010Such a beautiful album. Every song simply oozes beauty and charm. I love just playing this album from start to finish, it's one of those thatSuch a beautiful album. Every song simply oozes beauty and charm. I love just playing this album from start to finish, it's one of those that you can just leave on and none of the songs are worthy of skipping.… Expand
ZDWFeb 11, 2009My God, the whistling. Never have I heard so much earnest whistling. Bird is clearly a talented musician, and it's a decent-sounding My God, the whistling. Never have I heard so much earnest whistling. Bird is clearly a talented musician, and it's a decent-sounding album. But it's just too precious. The songs are so meticulously constructed that the outcome is prosaic and, frankly, boring.… Collapse
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