US - Illinois - Full Moon 203 - 03/27/13
Hands of Glory
Mom & Pop Music
Last year Andrew Bird released two albums; in March came Break it Yourself, and some 8 months later Hands Of Glory arrived. It was called a companion EP to Break it Yourself, but stands rather well on its own feet. Even though it's been a few months since it was released, I'd like to do a review.; being the big-time Bird-fan (bird-head...?) I am.
Hands of Glory is a more rustic sounding album than the more polished Break it Yourself. It's even an album roaming the valleys of mild Country/Americana. Can you imagine? Bird bearing a Stetson! Well, it isn't that bad (or good, if that's your cup of tea). "Railroad Bill" (which is a traditional) is an example of full-blooded country, galloping style. Anyway,
opening track "Three White Horses" is marvellous, including a singing saw and all. This is a top-shelf Bird song. Hands of Glory's duration is 35 minutes only. It has got 8 tracks on
it, and unlike Bird's regular studio albums this one holds a handful of cover songs. Such as Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You", the aforementioned "Railroad Bill", and "When That Helicopter Comes" by Brett & Rennie Sparks (a.k.a. The Handsome Family). "Spirograph" is co-written with Minneapolis combo Alpha Consumer, of which Jeremy Ylvisaker is one of the players on this record. Andrew Bird also did covers of Alpha Consumer's "The Crown Salesman" and of the Handsome Family's "So Much Wine", released on a single last year.
Along with "Three White Horses", "Spirograph" and "Orpheo" rides up (he-he...) as favourites on Hands of Glory. Oh, yes, the (almost) instrumental "Beyond the Valley of the Three White Horses" (which is "Three White Horses" revisited) should also be mentioned. All in all it's a fairly good and cool album, but I think I prefer regular Bird albums.
Copyright © 2013 Håvard Oppøyen