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Review: 'Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire'
'Oh! The Grandeur'   

-  Label: 'Org Music'
-  Genre: 'Blues' -  Release Date: '13.10.23.'

Our Rating:
This is the first ever vinyl version of Oh The Grandeur the second album by Andrew Bird's Bowl Of Fire after he left The Squirrel Nut Zippers, originally released on cd in 1999. As with the re-issue of Thrills the band's first album this is being re-issued as a gatefold double album with three sides of music and an etched final side.

The a-side opens by taking us on a trip to the Candy Shop, as Andrew tries to set fire to the Candy Shop, his teeth have obviously rotted form too much sugar, as this gets going there is a very cool acoustic guitar solo in a Django style, that leads into the first Violin solo of the album, that has a nice slightly pained feel to it, on a song originally written for the soundtrack to The Cradle That Rocked although it didn't make the cut.

Tea And Thorazine doesn't have Andrew choking like a song of a gun, this is very low slung as the tale of finding enough equilibrium to be allowed out of that mental institution, hoping that life on the outside will be ok, the almost not their brushed cymbals accent the tale of his brothers struggles with Autism perfectly.

Wishing For Contentment is played in waltz time, as Andrew lists the many things he needs to happen for him to achieve a feeling of Contentment, as the pace picks up there is a Rosetta Tharpe style guitar solo as things get properly swinging.

Wait till you hear how this slow ballad is crooned, grab hold of the one you love, hold them tight and listen to everything Andrew tells you, to help you through the night as Andrew re-works a poem by Galway Kinnel.

The Idiot's Genius takes a slow rumba beat feeling like the slowest Tav Falco song, with the percussion doing lots of the work on this song in love with Viridian green as we wonder who the Idiot's Genius was, even if the most likely candidate in 1999 would have been George W Bush this doesn't sound like it's about him.

The B-side opens with the speedy Vidalia that takes a swinging polka flying around the room with a dazzling fiddle solo to get those feet lying around.

Beware is a slow careful warning not to be gulled by flim flam men claiming to know everything. This expands into an epic warning against of every word that's been uttered by a politician in the last 40 years or so, making this a very prescient tune indeed.
Dora Goes To Town as well she's an explorer of course, she wants to hang out at a taxi Dance having a ball, hoping they've got a really great banjo player to let rip, as they wait for the talking drummer to do his thing.

Feetlips has a fleet dancefloor feel, as those lips are entranced by what those feet are doing, the seduction is under way, you hope to avoid being thrown out in the rain again, this has a real Slim and Slam feel to it.

And So... I guess to bed as this feels like a lullaby to soothe yourself to sleep. Coney Island Shuffle has a Cuban or Brazilian edge to this tune, to dance the night away as if you're still drinking in a speakeasy.

The C-side opens with Respiration sounding like we should all be doing some breathing exercises to it, as it fills our lungs with the breath of musical life, we all crave so much, so Breathe deep and let this fill your mind as well as those lungs.

(What's your) Angle? Other than this is a cool song in the Hot Club swing style, as we find out all the things that you might dangle in front of us, a way for you to achieve your ends. Don't mention what happens after the Double bass solo, as that pair get down to tango.
The Confession has the fiddles setting the scene, Andrew pours out all the things he's done to hurt you. How he's stalked you, seeing what you've been up to, the wrongs he thinks you are going to confess to, during this slow lament.

The album closes with a reprise of Beware that takes the slow violin solo with the underlying piano without becoming the cautionary tale it is with lyrics. Then after a suitable pause we get the very 90's trick of a hidden track, that in this case is a Drinking Song (In The Grand Style) that does exactly what it describes, as we all salute the demon alcohol once more.

Find out more at https://orgmusic.com/collections/vinyl-lp/products/oh-the-grandeur https://www.facebook.com/AndrewBirdMusic https://www.andrewbird.net/

  author: simonovitch

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