Album: Noble Beast
Artist: Andrew Bird
Label: Fat Possum
Andrew Bird's baroque indie masterpiece, Noble Beast, took his already classically-infused sound and completely redefined it. Usually employing the conventions of indie rock with a touch of violin, Noble Beast is a noticeable departure for Bird. The album functions as a vivid portrait of the scenery around him, painted with a classical, albeit southwestern instrumentation. It's a smart, calm and welcoming record, rich in sound and enthusiasm, and a comforting amount of familiarity. Bird has seemingly reached a new height in his skill set, and won't be coming down anytime soon.
Devoid of many conscious track changes, Noble Beast can easily flow as one continuous piece of work, with separate, original movements. Dynamic and engaging songs like "Not a Robot, But a Ghost" melt perfectly into quieter interludes such as "Unfolding Fans," while his wit and attention to detail shines through each and every selection. The album is fun, yet relaxing. Intricate, yet loose. From song to song you are taken on a ride that never exudes too much, but somehow achieves the perfect balance of structure of volume. These characteristics make the possibilities for Noble Beast completely never-ending-- an amazing accomplishment for any album, and what makes this one such a treat to hear.
Best Track: "Not a Robot, But a Ghost"
[Previously on Animal Noises: Best Albums of 2009: #6, Dirty Projectors' Bitte Orca]