Home Read Classic Album Review: Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire | The Swimming Hour

Classic Album Review: Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire | The Swimming Hour

The Squirrel Nut Zippers' former fiddler truly comes into his own on his third album.

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This came out in 2001 — or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


A former member of retro ragtimers Squirrel Nut Zippers, fiddler and singer Andrew Bird went out on his own back in ’98 with Thrills. His third CD The Swimming Hour finds him coming into his own.

Like Rip Van Winkle waking up from his decades-long reverie, Bird expands his repertoire beyond the Jazz Age and into the second half of the 20th century. And with impressive results, kicking things off in a big way with the groovy Beckish folk-hop of opening track Two Way Action and the lumpy Morphine junk-blues of Core and Rind. For the rest of this 50-minute treat, Bird flies hither and yon, hitting on Firewaterish gypsy pop (Case In Point), tuba jazz (Too Long), bullwhip-crackin’ country twang (Way Out West) and even a Canned Heat-style boogie (Satisfied), all filtered through his off-kilter, time-travelling musical perspective. For Bird, everything old is new again — and things are going swimmingly.