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Andrew Bird (Loma Vista/Concord)

The perception of internal problems and the exploration of the point at which they cross over to our outside world perhaps keeps Andrew Bird up at night, but within that insomnia lives an inextinguishable creative spark. Inside Problems, Bird’s most recent release, is a collection of questions, musings, and other considerations stemming mainly from captive nights within the pandemic broadcast now to the outside with Bird’s signature lyrical and musical dexterity. It’s the space in-between when something is internal and then it’s not where Bird’s interest lies. “Crossing a threshold is as simple as going from indoors to outdoors of a house,” he explains. “I'm interested in that period of time when you're neither here nor there. There’s an unexplainable lack of clarity to it that still haunts me, that threshold between being in one place and another.”

Inside Problems is classically and therefore uniquely Bird with all of the unmistakable hallmarks one expects from his music - ethereal strings and a beautifully finger-picked violin, melodies carried off on whistled lines, and the warm production of songs performed “live” as in straight onto tape. “With my ethos and what I like to hear in other recordings, the exciting thing to me is when I hear a risk involved. It’s really important to make an album that I get excited about while listening.”

One also expects upbeat takes on tough questions and occasionally startling scenarios, and both are certainly found within. Opening track “Underlands” reminds us we’re all spinning on this planet with no certain answer as to why, and yet in “Lone Didion” we hold our patterns dear. This wordplay on “Joan Didion” recounts a second-hand story pertaining to how the writer carried on after the loss of her partner, but this is not Didion’s only “contribution” to the record as Bird, in spending time with her works, was struck by the theme of fragmentation within her 1968 essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Calling the theme into focus in “Atomized,” the lines, ”They’ll demagnetize your poles / And you know they're going to try to delete you / So now you're atomized / Unwhole,” call out a dangerous fragmentation of our lives within the technological age while musically we bounce along to a simple uptempo drumbeat before being swept away in a hypnosis of strings.

Triple A is also swept away by Inside Problems as it’s found its way to the top of the JBE Non-Comm Albums chart with single “Make A Picture” leading the way at KXT, 88.5FM, WXRT, Indie 102.3 and many, many more.


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