Published Mar 30, 2016Charming Chicago multi-instrumentalist and notable whistler Andrew Bird's new album Are You Serious is more precise and biting than his previous work, yet retains Bird's warm sound. Kicking off with the groove of first single, "Capsized," the songs flow together in swift fashion. "Roma Fade" features Bird's strong violin work over driving guitar and drums as he intones, "If I see you, how it changes me," the pointed instrumentation suggesting there's more than meets the eye to his often vague lyrics. On "Truth Lies Low," he nimbly picks out a melodic violin delicacy.
Bird's collaboration with Fiona Apple, "Left Handed Kisses," is a highlight, tender yet full of attitude, acoustic guitar and playful bass fading into dramatic violin as the singers harmonize, playing off each other. Elsewhere, "The New Saint Jude" is a textured and joyous romp, as Bird sings that he's "feeling so much better," while woozy violin and sunny guitar make "Valleys Of The Young" perhaps the most rock-centric song Bird has ever done.
Are You Serious is a mature and confident record that finds Andrew Bird exploring myriad new sounds while remaining instantly recognizable. He has moved past indie folk, creating his own blend of genres that makes for gentle, earnest and memorable songs. (Loma Vista)