'Hands of Glory' is cozily country
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 22:10
Singer/songwriter Andrew Bird has gained and maintained love from indie music fans all over. Bearing a uniquely eclectic and mellow style, his six previous studio albums have seen much popularity. Produced as a companion, “Hands of Glory” follows in “Break It Yourself”’s footsteps, running eight tracks deep of nothing but blues-filled bliss.
Progressive notes of booming bass welcome us to the world of Andrew Bird as “Three White Horses” opens the album. Continuing with eerily beautiful acoustic touches and synthesizers, he tells a story of his loved one’s loss while depicting the painful process of mourning. “It’s not desperation that we’re breeding. It’s just a need we’re feeding, before we say goodbye.”
Next is “Railroad Bill,” a toe-tapping, whimsical tune about a fictitious country character. The story depicts the gun-shooting and reckless antics of Bill, a man who lives life with his own instruction manual. Additionally, Andrew Bird closes with quite possibly the best line ever: “gonna drink my whiskey, drink it in the wind. The doctor said it’d kill me but he didn’t say when.”
“Hands of Glory” is remarkably reminiscent of the Old South, reflected through bluesy guitar riffs, a haunting fiddle and signature country whine. The album can be best described as cozy. Simply put, this is music best heard in the middle of winter while drinking coffee under wool blankets. But it’s not just the instrumentals that produce this down home sound; it’s the lyrics as well.
“If I Needed You” is downright hymnal-worthy. Fitting right into a worship session in a Southern chapel, the three-minute song features fiddle plucking and soft bass on a sway-like, slow-paced beat. The result is impressive.
Bird concludes his story with “Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses,” a nine-minute long instrumental (with ever-so slight background vocalizations) that delivers goose bumps and possibly tears. Its elegance deserves a spot on a movie soundtrack.
Throughout the album, Andrew Bird accomplishes a couple things, one being the cross-pollination of sounds. He shifts from gloom-covered blues to cheery country, all without missing a beat. On tracks like “When That Helicopter Comes,” one could swear that he or she is listening to something from the Black Keys, while songs like “Orpheo” are soft and soothingly acoustic, sounding like something you’d hear off a Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes album. Andrew Bird diversifies styles and this is what he does best.
Andrew Bird has his own flavor, resembling a fusion of indie and country, ranging from gloomily soulful and bluesy to purely hymnal. “Hands of Glory” is food for the indie lover’s soul. Take a bite.