World Cafe

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe

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24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

World Cafe Archives

Join the World Cafe through performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.
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Andrew Bird - Noble Beast - Fat Possum

We often hear musicians talk about artistic integrity, yet few are as truthful or match the level of their ambitions as well as Andrew Bird. His songwriting, which at times will leave you reaching for your thesaurus, is as skillful as his string playing or his trademark whistling. The classically trained violin player has produced another record destined for critical praise in Noble Beasts.

Noble Beasts is Bird's fifth solo album, with each record sounding more confident and defined in its approach. The album opens at a lazy pace, immediately inviting with warm swirling strings and the contagious whistles of "Oh No". As expected, but perhaps more prevalent on Noble Beasts, Bird is meticulous in his compositions; careful and deliberate with his word choice and clever with layers upon layers of instrumentation. On songs like "Not A Robot, But A Ghost", Noble Beasts is at its most adventurous. It's difficult not to draw the similarities to that of a Radiohead tune, but Bird is equally as engaging.

Bird's real talent has consistently been his ability to marry indie-rock with his jazzy and orchestral tendencies. Noble Beasts relies on those tendencies with a heavy dose of strings, Bird's strongest suit. And the result is a sprawling collection of cerebral gems.

Written by Mike Vasilikos

CD of the Month for February 2009