Release Date: 20 January 2009
The sound of the album is as important as the notes Bird plays, and this extends to the lyrics, where he's gradually gone from word-play to syllable-play, often choosing lines for their sounds and tonal quality more than for their meaning. Nevertheless, Bird's music is still emotionally powerful-- he gives uncommon weight to odd phrases, sometimes backing off pronouncing a word fully. His diction comes and goes similar to the way Thom Yorke's does. Some of the phrases don't mean anything; others jump out oddly, like the way he follows a free-association game on "Masterswarm" with the startlingly cogent, even harrowing line, "They took me to the hospital and they put me through a scan." Bird injects the music with similar contrasts, opening "Effigy" with a spooky bed of looping, processed violins before shifting into one of the album's most traditional-sounding moments, with finger-picked acoustic guitar playing a simple, straightforward melody.
- Joe Tangari, Pitchfork