The popularity of Andrew Bird’s particular brand of violin centered folk-pop can be attributed to none other than Bird himself. Though his sonic brethren (Owen Pallett Beirut’s Zach Condon to name a couple) have pushed this sound further in their own directions and garnered equal if not greater heaps of popularity and praise, there’s no doubt that Bird’s efforts under his own name, paved the way for a wide acceptance of such tones more present in classical music than the realm of indie rock.

That being said, Bird’s newest record, Break It Yourself has approached without the fervor that often accompanies such releases. Here we have a seventh solo record from a progenitor of a scene that at one point dominated a large portion of the consciousness of indie music listeners, and it seems to be flying relatively under the radar. Perhaps due to the fact that his last two releases, 2010’s Useless Creatures and 2011’s soundtrack to the indie flick Norman, were largely instrumental affairs and perhaps due to exhaustion of the marketplace, the release of this album hasn’t been anticipated with bated breath. Despite the strength of early singles ‘Eyeoneye’ and ‘Danse Carribe’, and the fact that he grabbed St. Vincent for a duet on ‘Lusitania’, it hasn’t been paid much attention. I’m happy to report that we’ve all been fools for ignoring it.

I’d be lying if I said this was classic Andrew Bird. Though whistling still features prominently, it has become his calling card over the years, after all, this is quite removed from the early sprightly melodies of The Mysterious Production of Eggs. This work recalls more recent efforts, including both Noble Beast and the more guitar driven compositions of the Norman (indeed, portions of this album are reinterpretations of that soundtrack’s material) in that the compositions are less off-kilter and more immediate. One would be hard pressed to call his early material “raw” but due to the lush, bombastic of ‘Eyeoneye’ or the intricacy of ‘Near Death Experience’ such nomenclature almost becomes necessary, if only to highlight the distinction.

Aside from a few poorly chosen lyrical refrains, even the phrase “break it yourself” in the context of ‘Eyeoneye’ comes across as a bit over the top in its attempts to be clever, this is Bird on the top of his game songwriting wise. The arrangements are impeccable, the lyrics carefully thought out, though lacking some of the surrealist portraits that earlier songs might have turned into, and though at times his attempts to be clever may be a bit too much, he, in fact, clever at most points. Like always Bird will find his way into your heart if you give this record enough spins. Though this certainly isn’t ground newly tread, even for Bird himself, it represents a further fleshing out of ideas more recently explored in the career of a well recognized songwriter. The usual outlets might not have championed the arrival of this new effort in the same way as they might have in years past, but just know that it's done nothing to reward the tepid anticipation.