Andrew Bird's last full length album, Armchair Apocrypha, was a compelling collection of mellow, intricate tracks using a combination of whistles, handclaps and strings -his latest offering Noble Beast uses the same formula, but incorporates a sight rockier edge, bulking up the song with well crafted, folk-pop oriented beats. Admittedly comparing this to its predecessor, it plays it more safe, it's not as adventurous, keeping it borderline between faint contemporary-pop and mellow, guitar backed collection of songs.
"Oh No" is a pleasing opener, nothing stellar or amazing, its uses a series of strings, drums and tambourines with a string of whistles and handclaps in portions of the song, although it hasn't been released as a commercial single, it was one of 2 cuts to be previewed on Andrew's official webpage, which may be why it's proven so popular on iTunes. Next up is "Masterswarm" which is completely mellow and guitar based, sounds like something from Coldplays X&Y its one of my favorites. "Fitz and the Dizzyspells" is among the more upbeat songs on the album, racing with a fast paced guitar running against some noticeable drums. At the moment my favorite song on here is "Effigy" which comes across as a semi instrumental, starting off as a series of mellow horns, violins and whimsical vibes before spontaneously breaking into something more contemporary with a recurring guitar and mid-paced drums.
The next 2 songs "Tremendous" and "Nomenclature" both compliment each other in a compelling way "Tremendous" verges on a more country-oriented vibe, reminiscent to the stuff on Armchair Apocrypha but maintains a great mid-paced mellow composition. "Nomenclature" is slightly more upbeat, blending swiftly from "Tremendous" the violins and banjo really make the song really pleasant to listen to. "No A Robot" is one of the more stranger songs on the album, consisting of the typical guitar, some random high pitch sounds and a distorted electric guitar backed by a series of handclaps, it's really weird but it's one of my favorites here. "Anonanimal" carries a faint electronic configuration, backed by some light tings in the background, it carries a very whimsical theme, very relaxing and beautiful to listen to. "Natural Disaster" is a beautiful semi instrumental continuing a series various instruments.
"The Privateers" is a fairly fast paced contemporary guitar backed track, although not a standout. Smoothly closing the album is "Souverian", the song consist of a recurring piano, slick drum basses and a twangy guitar, the song runs for a lengthy 7 minutes. Noble Beast is a great folk-pop orientated album, I wouldn't recommend it for casual pop fans, but for any experimental listeners.