Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Album Review: Bowerbirds - The Clearing

The Clearing by Bowerbirds is the sound of a band that has been freed both musically and spiritually.

The third album from the North Carolina band starts with the rousing “Tuck the Darkness” which builds into a powerful, swirling mantra that sets the tone for the rest of the record’s 45 minutes.

“Oh my dear friend, everything falls to death,” duo Phil Moore and Beth Tacular tell us, “We tuck the darkness in. We tuck the darkness in.” They’ve learned to accept the unhappy necessities of life. “Tucked the darkness in, dragged the harrow across the land,” Moore sings, “found my fresh start, sowed my wildest dreams.”

The Clearing sounds effortless and unburdened. Strings glide throughout the 11 songs weaving around the compelling variety of songs. “Hush” mixes world music rhythms into an irresistible beat. “Overcome with Light” is a gentle acoustic piece with a chorus ripe for some powerful sing-a-longs on tour.

The compositions on the record are intricate, gorgeous, and rewarding. There seems to be endless details for one to listen to. As the album went on, I found myself listening closer and closer. Bowerbirds take advantage of this on the final track “Now We Hurry On” which ends with nearly two minutes of twinkling piano and bells. For a second, it seems like it might never end and I hoped it never would.

The Clearing, Bowerbirds has the fortune of coming to both musical and personal epiphanies on the same record and it makes the album a must-listen.

Bowerbirds will play Cat's Cradle on March 17 with Mandolin Orange. Tickets are $12 in advance.

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