Noble Beast
(Fat Possum)


Andrew Bird’s music is like a bespoke suit: “fussy and impossible for anyone else to wear,” said Jessica Suarez in Spin. Only Bird, a classically trained violinist and world-class whistler, could get away with unfurling a cumbersome word like “Nomenclature” within a mellifluous piece of chamber pop. Though Noble Beast fails to “create the same frothy electricity” as 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha, it certainly deepens the “reliably idiosyncratic” artist’s deft instrumental palette. At once instrumentally spare and musically complex, the album “takes you even further into the canyons of Bird’s mind,” said Joe Tangari in Starting with “Oh No,” a chirpy tune about sociopaths, he leads listeners on a heady musical journey. His “drifting song structures, frequent tonal shifts,” and abstruse lyrics can occasionally lead them astray. More interested in melody than in meaning, Bird creates music that’s “emotionally powerful” even when it’s hard to decipher. Noble Beast may reveal itself slowly, said Noel Murray in The Onion. But what it ultimately unveils is “a higher form of pop music.”