Armchair Apocrypha is Andrew Bird’s most accessible record to date, which makes me skeptical. What makes it so easy to like? Is it going to sound boring in two months? Time will tell, but the songs are solid, and the things that make Andrew Bird interesting are all still here. This is a lush, gorgeous record and the twisted nursery rhyme lyrics are still smiling morbidly beneath the pleasant exterior.
The songs are louder and a little faster this time around. Electric guitars and pianos are more prominent. But what sets Armchair Apocrypha apart from Weather Systems or The Mysterious Production of Eggs is the refinement in the mixing and arrangements. Previously, songs were built with careful, deliberate layers in which the instruments all seemed to take turns as the center of attention. Now, everything comes together faster and is mixed more gently.