This time Bowerbirds have been able to flex their muscle fully in regard to how they use their instruments and experiment with sounds. A throb of strings, horns and percussion in the likes of In the Yard and Death Wish make The Clearing their most colourful and sophisticated album yet.
Bowerbirds are ticked off that the world’s in such a rush to get somewhere, and fast. The Clearing is their uprising against skipped tracks, shuffled songs and on-the-go playlists. With this their third album, the North Carolina trio tell us to wake up and smell the fresh air, with their rich blend of earthy folk. Since their last album, band mates and couple; Philip Moore and Beth Tacular have reaped plenty of worthy song material. With illness, break-ups and reconciliation, there was bounty of songs desperate to be scribbled down.
Tuck the Darkness In is a deliberate nod to the hardship the pair has endured. An effortless rhythm gives way to a jovial swell of howls, whistles and jaunty piano that would fit comfortably on a movie score. The song then surges to a finale of jubilant proportion. Brave World pays homage to a changing earth with the pair’s own take on Americana. Moore sings of his childhood home and we’re carried off to the cornfields with him. Layered with eerie violins he question; “oh brave world, how have you changed?”. Recorded in Bon Iver’s very own Wisconsin hideaway you can almost hear his influence bouncing off the walls. This time Bowerbirds have been able to flex their muscle fully in regard to how they use their instruments and experiment with sounds. A throb of strings, horns and percussion in the likes of In the Yard and Death Wish make The Clearing their most colourful and sophisticated album yet.
Ending with a song directed towards a sunnier path, Now We Hurry On enters our ears like a whisper. At close to seven minutes it’s more of a dawdle and shows a band relishing in the here and now. A minute to the end of the record, Moore leaves with a plea to “take your time with it” and we are left with our thoughts, crystal chimes and lightly stroked piano keys. An album best suited to a grassy hill top than a concrete metropolis, The Clearing is Bowerbirds’ love note to mother nature, loaded with raw experiences and oozing in their gratitude for life. You’ll be caught in Bowerbirds' talons soon enough.