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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 17, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Review: ‘Hands of Glory’ features sweet-sounding folk style

With the help of Mom+Pop Records, Andrew Bird released his seventh studio album, “Hands of Glory,” featuring his signature alternative-folk style.

“Three White Horses” opens the album with the strumming of a guitar, his unmistakable storytelling voice and the experimental orchestration of a wailing fiddle. The string arrangement in “Three White Horses” closely resembles his song “Hole in the Ocean Floor” from his last album, “Break It Yourself.”

The track “Railroad Bill” shows a more playful side of the album, and the swampy, Southwestern-styled song “If I Needed You” is an idiosyncratic interlude in the midst of the album’s less upbeat songs.

There is something lonely about Bird’s music that is beautifully crafted by his wavering voice. A bittersweet note hangs in many of the songs in the album that make them sound like melancholic lullabies.

The album itself explores a motif of death, as the first song prepares for death in “Three White Horses” and later expands the theme with the haunting song “Orpheo.” The track is also an echo of the last album, “Break It Yourself,” which features the song “Orpheo Looks Back” and expands on the myth in which the poet Orpheus journeys to the underworld to retrieve his beloved. Bird explores the mournful poet and emphasizes the emotion with heart-wrenching violin chords.

With each new album, Bird proves that he’s more than a fluid voice, a whistling pro and a talented songwriter, but a true musician who creates music that sounds as effortless and beautiful as the songs sung by birds themselves.

Overall rating: 4 stars