Label: Dead Oceans Release date: 07/07/09 Website: Bowerbirds Official Website Strummed guitars. Subtle piano hits. Lazy but assured vocals and a charming American drawl. The subtle introduction of a female vocal line in the chorus harmony. Yep, it’s Bowerbirds latest, unassuming and certainly unafraid to dive headlong into the folk-pop revival effort, yet somehow standing tall all the way. Upper Air grows on you. I've listened to the album at least 30 times (yes, I guess I AM a thorough reviewer) in a month and I can confidently say that the soul of the album is elusive, playful and beautiful. On first listen I'd have given this album a fairly mediocre score on account of just how slow-burning it is, despite its initial and obvious charms; chiefly two gorgeous voices and evocative, quietely passionate lyrics such as 'I don't expect a southern girl/to know the northern lights' and 'For what it's worth/I draw my breath from an ancient earth.' Then, after a few more listens the individual hooks, dynamics and harmonies begin to stand out a little from the swirling background melange of accordians and arpeggios. At point of writing the chorus harmony of 'Chimes', gently fluctuating over the sparsest of steel strings and accordian, is almost moving me to tears (Yeah...guess I'm pretty sensitive too!) What Phil Moore and Beth Tacular (real name..? If so...TOO GOOD) have constructed here is a down-tempo, subtle slice of Americana goodness. Potentially however their effortless command of harmony and deceptively complex melodies are not matched by a marked variation in rhythmic and dynamic mastery, and some songs are so minialist as to undermine the arrangements of others. It's amazing how quickly musical trends emerge. Yet, unlike so many indie bands a few years ago eclipsed by Franz Ferdinand and The Artic Monkeys, unlike so many great, solo female singer-song writers that will unfortunately be eclipsed by Spektor's new album, Bowerbirds are one folk-pop duo that are not content to be overlooked. This is one bird-song sure to attract the attention of all; Upper Air is beautiful, melancholy, understated and possessed of moments of heart-wrenching sensitivity. Rating: 8/10