Break It Yourself
(Mom + Pop)
Don’t let all that whistling deceive you. On his 12th album, Chicago singer-songwriter Andrew Bird – whose instruments of choice are the violin and his own puckered lips – gets cynical and a bit dispirited, singing on its best song, “Eyeoneye,” “No one can break your heart, so you break it yourself.” It’s a Valentine’s Day record for all the people who have nothing to do. Even a pair of songs about real-life maritime tragedies – “Lusitania” and “Fatal Shore” – become metaphors for bruised hearts. Break It Yourself is also Bird’s loosest album, an unfussy mix of indie rock and baroque pop that rarely forces the whistling, an occasional problem in the past. The record nudges Bird into more daring musical territory, as electronic hisses, abrasive guitar reverb, and chirping crickets propel the songs into areas where lips fear to tread.