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Armchair Apocrypha

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (2957 ratings)
Armchair Apocrypha album cover
Fiery Crash
Simple X
The Supine
Scythian Empires
Yawny at the Apocalypse
Album Information

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 48:26

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Way deep down


This is wonderfully deep and thought provoking -- if you like Andrew Bird, your mind might be just right for the amazning work of Vadigur Siggeursson. "Reverse Erased" and "Erased Duet" are special favorites but as a whole it's amazing. I urge you to listen.

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Melodic and Intense


I can't get enough of Yawny At the Apocolypse. So full of yearning, and so sad but so beautiful. Gets me everytime and it's held up over time. I keep coming back to this ONE song over and over again.

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Space out and try not to think too hard


Bird is definitely unique, The music is expansive great for sitting, enjoying scenery and letting the mind wander. The Lyrics are intelligent, and witty. Be forewarned however they are witty and intelligent enough to turn a lot of people off. Don't get scared away though by this the haunting beauty of the music is enough to make the album a classic even if you don't catch a single lyric. The music is deeply layered and the lyrics serve as another subtle sublime layer and not in your face intellectualism that usually seems to be the down fall of overly artistic/ "intellectual" songwriters.

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Music for your mood and your brain


Great musicality and lyrics that nicely set the stage for each vignette, with song writing that allows your imagination to fill in the perfectly timed pauses and spaces with inquisitive conjecture. It's not obvious but if it were you wouldn't bother. Stop reading and hit the play button.

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This man


Cannot make something that isn't awesome

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An Album of the Year for Sure


Worth every download, the whistling and all.

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This one is a creeper


This one creeped up on me after a few listenings and I can't shake it. The lyrics and melodies fall in synch to create the most delightfully nasty hooks. I've found myself wandering around the day reciting "Imitosis" to the plucking of strings. A definite "buy it" rating.

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One of the top albums of the year


This was one of my favorite albums of the year and I still enjoy spinning it. Beautiful melodies, obscure lyrics and wonderful musicianship.

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Talented Man


Genius lyricist. And most excellent musician.

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Instant Pleasure


From the start to finish the album will lead your senses down corridors your mind rarely visits. A definite must in every music collection.

eMusic Features


Interview: Andrew Bird

By Amanda Petrusich, Contributor

Multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird works in layers, stacking sounds and rhythms, building lush, heavily-orchestrated pop songs. On Bird's fourth full-length release, Armchair Apocrypha, his classical background (Bird was trained as a violinist) matches wits with his curious eye, and the resulting tracks are rich and delightful, as concerned with melody as they are with mitosis. eMusic: Your tour went green. Can you talk a little bit about your decision to use biodiesel, eat organic food, and recycle? Andrew… more »

They Say All Music Guide

With Armchair Apocrypha, Andrew Bird takes another developmental departure from his previous works, though not nearly in as drastic a fashion as his previous album-to-album jumps in style. This has become expected of Bird and is one of the merits that make each of his releases highly anticipated. Where in the past Bird has impressed listeners with his violin artistry and vocal delivery, and later his use of electronic looping and whistling, with Armchair he allows the songs to breath more on their own, using the aforementioned elements to blend into the structural integrity of the songs rather than predominately featuring each component. This is not to say his previous approaches were ineffective, but rather an observation that is one of the essential reasons Armchair Apocrypha holds together more cohesively than Bird’s previous outings. Perhaps the heavy inclusion of drummer and electric pianist Martin Dosh has much to do with this cohesion; it is the first time Dosh and Bird have teamed up on a recording, though the two had been touring together with regularity for a couple of years previous to this. Dosh provides excellent propulsion as a drummer and his Rhodes/Wurlitzer playing adds a deep and dynamic warmth to the entire album. With a few other guests, most noticeably bassist Chris Morrissey’s playing on five of the 12 tracks, Armchair is the first album since the 2001 release of The Swimming Hour that feels like a band playing together rather than songs built in separate layers.
The majority of the album feels so much more relaxed than much of Bird’s previous works, due much in part to his almost laconic vocal delivery throughout. It’s the first album that captures Bird’s much lauded live approach, almost as if he had hit some completely transcendental place mentally, forgotten his place in the studio, and instead just sang while in some distant reverie — the way one sings unencumbered while washing the dishes in an empty house and, unknowingly, hones his artistic blade cleaning dirty knife by dirty knife. The most excellent example of this delivery is on the majestically sprawling “Armchairs,” a complex and dynamic number that unfolds cinematically in that it entirely captures attention and does not relent through nearly seven minutes, even without a single repeating melody. It is only fitting, then, that in the first climax of “Armchairs,” Bird belts out, “Time, it’s a crooked bow!” over a dramatic musical descent. And he’s right, the seven minutes in which “Armchairs” unfolds are so captivating, the time feels cut in half. That said, the entirety of Armchair Apocrypha does not completely have that level of looseness and adventure. “Imitosis,” a reworked version of “I” from the 2003 release Weather Systems, holds some of the stiffness of Bird’s previous recordings which, to be fair, did not seem so stiff before Armchair Apocrypha was released. Still, as likeable a revision as “Imitosis” is, the song feels somewhat out of place alongside the bulk of these tracks and, being the second album in a row where Bird has updated a song from Weather Systems (“Skin Is, My” from The Mysterious Production of Eggs was an update of “Skin” from Weather Systems), it is hard not to begin listening to his back catalog searching for possibly half-baked ideas. This feeling generally dissipates when listening to songs such as “Armchairs,” the undeniably catchy “Plasticities” (that Bird’s delivery of the chorus’ lyric “We’ll fight…” sounds like “Whale fight…” only makes the song more endearing), or the drum-loop based “Simple X,” co-written by Dosh, but is notable enough to contemplate whether or not Bird was confident in his previous albums or simply felt inspired to remake the past.
It would be negligent not to mention the careful engineering and mixing that so clearly went into the making of Armchair Apocrypha, as it is, sonically, the most pleasing work not only that Bird has done, but that has come out in some time. The guitars and electric pianos are decidedly rich in tone and though at any given moment there are endless shifting layers of vocals, violins, guitars and more, Armchair Apocrypha never feels cluttered. Certainly, this is due in part to the exceptional arrangements, but also credit is due to the wonderful placement of the instruments in the mix throughout the recording. This, in part with the further adventurous nature of Bird’s developments as a songwriter and performer make Armchair Apocrypha the finest recording he has made to date, an impressive achievement considering his remarkable catalog thus far. – Gregory McIntosh

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