After five studio albums and nearly two decades of honing his craft, the prolific and perpetually innovative Andrew Bird strikes a lovely chord with Break it Yourself. Bird infuses each of the album’s 14 tracks with a careful balance between his accessible and experimental tendencies. Haunting and heartfelt layers of folk, pop, and rock complement the sweet sounds of gentle whistling, violin plucking, and breezy vocals.
Bird’s duet with St. Vincent’s Annie Clark showcases his talent for songs that start with a whisper (or a whistle) and spin into something truly symphonic. The combination isn’t for everyone, but it’s nevertheless a grand accomplishment, and should open new doors for this relatively overlooked talent while also satisfying loyal fans.
For such a meticulous production, Break it Yourself sounds refreshingly impulsive.
Playlist picks: “Eyeoneye,” “Orpheo Looks Back”
Andrew Bird plays Echo Beach (909 Lakeshore Blvd. W.) on July 19.