Armchair Apocrypha

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Armchair Apocrypha
Armchair Apocrypha (Front Cover).png
Studio album by Andrew Bird
Released March 20, 2007
Genre
Length 48:27
Label Fat Possum
Andrew Bird chronology
Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs
(2005)
Armchair Apocrypha
(2007)
Soldier On EP
(2008)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 81/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
The A.V. Club A−[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[5]
Mojo 4/5 stars[6]
NME 7/10[7]
Pitchfork Media 7.7/10[8]
Q 4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[10]
Spin 4/5 stars[11]

Armchair Apocrypha is American singer-songwriter Andrew Bird's fourth studio album and his third post-Bowl of Fire album. The album features more electric guitars, a change from the more acoustic-oriented Eggs, though the songs are similar in character if slightly more straightforward.

Writing and composition[edit]

"Simple X" is a track started by collaborator Dosh, who wrote the music as the song Simple Exercises off his solo album, Pure Trash, with Bird adding lyrics. The track "Imitosis" is an expansion of the song "I" (also called "Capital I" live) on his 2003 album Weather Systems. The song "Darkmatter" is also a rehash of the song "Sweetbreads", which can be found on the live EP Fingerlings 1. Both bonus tracks also evolved from previous songs: "Sick of Elephants" was originally known as "Sycophantitis" and "Self-Torture" adds lyrics and incorporates the melody from the instrumental "The Water Jet Cilice" from Fingerlings 3. Haley Bonar, who opened some shows on Bird's tour, sings background vocals on four songs.

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Bird mentioned that melodies are easier for him to write than lyrics. He was fascinated with the Scythians in 8th grade, so he decided to challenge himself to write a song about them as a way to jump-start his songwriting process.[12]

Reception[edit]

The album has been given a Metacritic score of 81 out of 100 based on 31 reviews, indicating universal acclaim.[1]

The album debuted at number 76 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 11,000 copies in its first week.[13] The album has sold over 100,000 copies by November 2008.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Andrew Bird, except where noted. 

No. Title Length
1. "Fiery Crash"   4:12
2. "Imitosis"   4:01
3. "Plasticities"   4:27
4. "Heretics"   3:33
5. "Armchairs"   7:02
6. "Darkmatter" (An earlier version of this song, "Sweetbreads," appears on the album Fingerlings) 5:07
7. "Simple X" (Bird, Martin Dosh) 3:36
8. "The Supine"   0:59
9. "Cataracts"   3:12
10. "Scythian Empires"   4:34
11. "Spare-Ohs"   4:07
12. "Yawny at the Apocalypse"   3:39

Personnel[edit]

  • Andrew Bird - Violin, Vocals, Whistling, Guitar, Glockenspiel
  • Haley Bonar – Vocals (tracks 1, 9–11)
  • Jon Davis – Bass clarinet (track 7)
  • Martin Dosh – Drums, electric piano (Rhodes, Wurlitzer), other sounds
  • Ben Durrant – Guitar (tracks 1, 6)
  • Chris Morrissey – Bass (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 11)
  • Kevin O'Donnell – Drums (track 4)
  • Jeremy Ylvisaker – Guitar (track 10)

Technical personnel[edit]

  • David Boucher – Mixing (tracks 5, 6)
  • Ben Durrant – Co-producer; mixing at Pachyderm Studios, Cannon Falls, MN (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7–10, 12); recording at Crazy Beast Studio, Northeast Minneapolis (tracks 1, 2, 6–10, 12; vocals and guitars for tracks 4, 5)
  • Dan Dietrich – Recording of additional tracks at Wall2Wall Recording, Chicago (tracks 4, 10)
  • Martin Dosh – Additional recording (track 7)
  • Tom Herbers – Mixing at Third Ear Recording, Minneapolis (tracks 3, 11); recording at Third Ear (tracks 3, 5, 11)
  • Gregg Norman – Recording of basic tracks at Electrical Audio, Chicago (track 4)
  • Roger Seibel – Mastering at SAE Mastering, Phoenix
  • Brent Sigmeth – Mixing at Pachyderm Studios (tracks 1, 2, 4, 7–10, 12)
  • Quemadura – Artwork and design
  • Lynne Roberts-Goodwin – Photography (of birds)
  • Cameron Wittig – Photography (of Andrew Bird)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
position
French Albums (SNEP)[15] 124
US Billboard 200[16] 76
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[17] 9
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[18] 5
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[19] 21
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[20] 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Reviews for Armchair Apocrypha by Andrew Bird". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  2. ^ McIntosh, Gregory. "Armchair Apocrypha – Andrew Bird". AllMusic. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ Phipps, Keith (March 20, 2007). "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". Entertainment Weekly: 59. 23 March 2007. 
  5. ^ Clarke, Betty (April 13, 2007). "Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha". The Guardian. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". Mojo (162): 102. May 2007. 
  7. ^ Worthy, Stephen (April 27, 2007). "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". NME. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  8. ^ Tangari, Joe (March 23, 2007). "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". Q (250): 125. May 2007. 
  10. ^ Swanson, David (March 20, 2007). "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2011. 
  11. ^ Young, Jon (March 2007). "Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha". Spin. 23 (3): 88. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  12. ^ Bahn, Christopher (21 February 2006). "Interview: Andrew Bird". The A.V. Club. 
  13. ^ Katie Hasty, "Modest Mouse Steers Its 'Ship' To No. 1 Debut", Billboard.com, March 28, 2007.
  14. ^ "Flying High". Billboard: 38. November 15, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Lescharts.com – Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha". Hung Medien.
  16. ^ "Andrew Bird – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Andrew Bird.
  17. ^ "Andrew Bird – Chart history" Billboard Digital Albums for Andrew Bird.
  18. ^ "Andrew Bird – Chart history" Billboard Independent Albums for Andrew Bird.
  19. ^ "Andrew Bird – Chart history" Billboard Top Rock Albums for Andrew Bird.
  20. ^ "Andrew Bird – Chart history" Billboard Top Tastemaker Albums for Andrew Bird.