TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the October 2022 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
Analog Planet Rated 7/10 Music, 8/10 Sonics!
On his 2022 album Inside Problems, Andrew Bird acknowledges all of the complex thoughts, questions and middle-of-the-night obsessions swirling around in each of us. Inside Problems is a collection of eleven original songs that take on those inner demons that run amok when things get especially quiet. It's a lush and rousing entry to his acclaimed, constantly evolving and perennially curious career.
For Bird, the idea that kept coming back to haunt him was the unavoidable presence of thresholds: the moment when something becomes something else, when somewhere becomes somewhere else. The phenomenon appears in endless aspects of daily life, from the process of projecting internal feelings and dialogue to the outside environment, or the seemingly mundane experience of standing in the frame of the doorway, crossing state lines or any place where one is neither here nor there, but in between. These are the questions that course through Inside Problems - where is the threshold, who are we during the moments in between?
Produced by Mike Viola and recorded live by Andrew Bird and his four-piece band - some of the only overdubs being additional vocals from Madison Cunningham - Inside Problems "transports listeners to a lush musical world" (NPR Music).
From cracking the Billboard Top 10 on Break It Yourself, to earning his first Grammy nomination for 2019's My Finest Work Yet, to acting in Fargo, scoring Judd Apatow's Netflix film The Bubble and more, Bird's career has been defined by a relentless pursuit of salvaging perfection from spontaneous decisions. Inside Problems extends that arc, manifesting not only the questions that keep him from his sleep, but the radical fight against stasis. The spirit is reflected in the method of tracking the music all together and straight to tape, when creative decisions and the crossing of thresholds are captured in real time, creating a sonic energy that is intimate, visceral and unpredictable.
Says Bird, "I have so much fun taking my ideas apart before they really have defined themselves as distinct songs, when they're still in that amoeba-like state. I love the feeling of chasing ideas and having them split off and go hang out with another idea and then butting them up against each other to see if they talk to each other."
Bird's musings are his own, and they're also relatable, rooted in the very human struggle to find some sort of positive purpose in life's mammoth unpredictability....Bird is smart enough (and emotionally healthy enough) to be asking the right sort of questions about who we are, what we do, and why we do it, and he manages to sound smart, thoughtful, and playful at the same time. His musings are a welcome match for the graceful blend of folk, indie rock, R&B, and jazz he and his band summon on this album. Bird's violin work is virtuosic when he wants it to be, but he's musician enough to know when to be subtle. The interplay between his fiddle (both bowed and plucked) and the easy, comfortable grooves created by his bandmates is never less than pleasing, making the most of his melodies while giving everyone the latitude and dynamics to explore the space around them. In its way, Inside Problems deals with weighty themes in a modest, manageable way, and that's one of its greatest virtues; here, Andrew Bird is a mildly quirky regular guy with some thoughts to share and a fiddle to help carry them across, and self-analysis is rarely as fun and rewarding as this.
Renowned for his unique whistling accompaniment, tongue-twisting lyrics, and heady chamber pop, Bird delivers an understated prize with Inside Problems.
On Inside Problems, Bird turns from the political sphere of My Finest Work Yet back to the personal, bringing a closer, warmer vibe overall. Though no major new ground gets broken here and Bird's idiosyncrasies won't appeal to all, much like a warm, weighted blanket, Inside Problems succeeds best as a comfy album to nestle into for a lean-in listen to Bird's unique folky flair.
- Vinyl LP
- Embossed Single Sleeve Jacket
- Made in USA
- Lone Didion
- Fixed Positions
- Inside Problems
- The Night before Your Birthday
- Make a Picture
- Faithless Ghost
- Stop n' Shop
- Never Fall Apart