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Andrew Bird’s Hands of Glory

Posted on the 27 November 2012 by Thewildhoneypie @thewildhoneypie


The latest record from multi-instrumentalist and indie singer-songwriter Andrew Bird (@andrewbird) is full of simple, subtle nuances, with a scaled down approach that works on a number of levels. At the heart of Hands of Glory, you have an eight track LP that taps into Bird’s calm, controlled and effortlessly catchy melodic state. The warm, friendly tunes, mixing the lines between country and baroque pop, may not offer anything particularly new or the slightest bit radical, but the vivid sense of lyrical imagery and lingering string undertones demonstrate the loving care and attention that Bird weaves into his songs, making Hands of Glory another cherised effort from the folksy troubadour.

Aside from the quality of the material and simply how enjoyable it is, what tends to stand most is the playful nature of some of the record’s opening and closing moments. For instance, the bluesy, almost rockabilly, effect that Bird opts for on tracks like “Three White Horses” and “When That Helicopter Comes” is not only a good fit and a nice extension, but the tone also adds a crisper texture to the records sound, complimenting its more rustic americana qualities. Album closer “Beyond The Valley of The Three White Horses” is quite a strange number that shifts the dynamic of the record to a whole new level. Synth pads and heavily effected layers of sound create an almost sonic whirlpool effect, adding interesting contrast to the more organic and acoustic elements. This sound clash could have been a very jarring incident of experimentation, but for the most part, it actually works well. I’m certainly not saying that Bird should ditch the violin and guitars for moog synthesizers and kaos pads just yet, but this opening is most definitely worth exploring in future material.

Hands of Glory may not be his most striking work to date, nor even his most striking work this year, but there’s a lot to take away from the album. Whether you enjoy the handful of hearty, well-honed and lovingly-crafted tracks that make up its whole or the slightly shifting paradigms within Andrew Bird’s musicality, you’re not likely to be disappointed by Hands of Glory.

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