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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Andrew Bird: Fingerlings 3


ANDREW BIRD: FINGERLINGS 3 (2006)

1) Grinnin'; 2) Dark Matter; 3) The Water Jet Cilice; 4) Measuring Cups; 5) The Happy Birthday Song; 6) A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head To The Left; 7) Scythian Empire; 8) Dear Dirty; 9) Tin Foil; 10) Ethiobirds.

The third and, so far, last volume of Fingerlings hardly deserves a lot of words. It is slightly lon­ger than the other two, mainly at the expense of featuring a couple extra non-live (or «live in the studio») tracks that sort of spoil the principle, but you'd never guess it without additional research anyway. Chief among these is the ten-minute suite 'Ethiobirds', an unusually ambitious piece that I could only describe as «elevator muzak for paradise», with Bird's regular synthesis of folk rhy­thmics, Eastern melodies, and classical sonics stretched out to cover all the time it requires to make that elevator trip from Earth to Heaven, with the rhythm gradually fading out to make way for cloudy cloudy cloudy.

Casual Bird fans will want 3 primarily for that particular piece; without it, it is essentially more of the same — slightly altered twists on older songs ('Nervous Tic Motion', for instance, is springier and livelier in the live setting and showcases his seriously underrated whistling talents far more effectively) interspersed with «previews» of newer songs from the upcoming Armchair Apo­crypha ('Dark Matter', 'Scythian Empire'). 'Dear Dirty' is also an original that, as far as I know, has not yet showed up on any other record — a gloomy piece with blues overtones, unusual for its thumbful of bitter bile that Andrew, normally such a nice fella who prefers to mourn over bad things in life rather than to hate them, empties into the mix. 'Tin Foil' is yet another Happy Fami­ly cover that is a nice addition to anyone's collection of Happy Family covers. What else is there to say? Nothing. Maybe Andrew thinks so, too, seeing as how the series has been essentially dis­continued since 2006.

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