I have to be honest. I had only passively listened to a couple of Andrew Bird’s previous songs before The Mysterious Production of Eggs found its way to my doorstep. Holding it in my hands I recalled reading about it in a few other on-line publications. The main thing I remembered was the album cover. Few singer/songwriter types display anything else besides a ‘somber’ image or a pensive looking photo of themselves on the cover of their releases. So when I saw the dorky Dr. Seuss looking thing covered by a yellow blanket with the words Andrew Bird below, it caught my eye. ‘This guys got something to him’ I thought (you judge by cover too, so hush).
I knew there was something different about him but at the time that was all I knew. Was this going to be something quirky? Is he obsessed with childhood? Or maybe it’s going to be just plain weird. I’m happy to report that The Mysterious Production of Eggs is none of the above. Mr. Bird has made his most mature statement yet; a profound collection of songs that are intricately constructed yet deceptively simple. There is so much to tease out of these songs after repeated listens; it’s one of those CD’s you’re left listening to for months on end, discovering something new each time. During my first listen I had that ‘oh man, I’m going to love this soon’ feeling. And now, months after first popping it into my stereo, I can tell you that I absolutely do.
Press kits are something that I rarely read. After a certain release grows on me (or, the opposite) I then sometimes pick the press sheet up and see what nuggets of info I can find. I’ll tell you now that some of the sounds on this disc are the most majestic I’ve heard all year. Particularly, there are sections of (no shit) whistling on The Mysterious Production of Eggs that had me tingling inside. Many of the songs contain whistling, recorded and looped violin and a plethora of other instruments. To my amazement, after reading the press sheet, I discovered that Andrew Bird is responsible for all. Now, let’s get to the songs.
This album is top heavy. The later songs are not bad in any way, it’s just they pale in comparison to the first six. The album starts with a lovely instrumental piece which then opens into “Sovay,” the first song to introduce Andrew’s incredible whistling. Soon comes “Fake Palindromes,” possibly the best song here. It features energetic violin, looped if I’m not mistaken, that rushes along in a sort of Celtic melody, but it has a grander to it that makes it sound utterly huge. Bird sings “my dewy eyed Disney bride, what has tried / swapping your blood with formaldehyde? / Monsters? / Whiskey-plied voices cried fratricide!” “Banking on a Myth” is another highlight but the last hard hitter, in my opinion, is “Skin Is, My.” Again, many of these songs feature violin, gently plucked guitar and whistling but please don’t be misled by my simple descriptions. It’s like saying Neutral Milk Hotel’s music is primarily guitar, brass, a weird voice and some wind saw. But you and I know better than that. I’m not comparing the music here (it isn’t similar) but I’d just like to convey that this is one of the most majestic albums of the year, and you’d be doing yourself a service picking it up.
- Andrew Iliadis
/june 1st 2005/