Andrew Bird - Weather Systems

Alex Worsnip 09/02/2004

Rating: 4/5

Americana isn't always tremedously imaginative, but this is one hell of a groundbreaker in the genre. Andrew Bird is not a singer-guitarist, but a singer-violinist, and he uses violin, played both classically and plucked like a guitar, through this quirky album of beautiful songs. Opener 'First Song' is more traditional alt-country balladeering, but tracks like 'I' display a quirky charm and a flair for offbeat rhythm and instrumental sounds. Meanwhile the title track is the album's centrepiece, a gorgeous epic awash in classical string playing, almost a sonata in its own right. At this stage its tempting to call him a composer, but there's a pop sensibility to these songs and a sort of back-country, American twang to them that places it firmly in an area of its own. With beautiful, swaying vocals, this could beat more conventional singer-songwriters any day, and is really worth investigation.