I'm a bit late on this week's post but, anyway, I thought I'd stick with the recent releases theme. I was first turned on to Bowerbirds when I saw them open for Joanna Newsom back in 2010 (has it really been two years already?!?). They put on a fantastic show, which prompted me to pick up their then latest album, Upper Air
, afterwards. Though I liked a few songs, I never truly got into the album as a whole until recently, but now I think it's absolutely gorgeous and its just released follow-up, The Clearing
, might be even more so. It doesn't exactly veer far off-course in terms of the sound Bowerbirds has established with their first two albums: organic, mainly acoustic folk-rock anchored by Phil Moore's Andrew Bird-esque warble and his heavily nature-influenced lyrics and Beth Tacular's airy harmonies and warmly playful accordion accompaniment. However, it's difficult to fault the band for sticking to what they do best when they do it so damn well. The Clearing
contains some of their finest songs yet; in fact, the first half of the album is rather close to flawless, from sprawling opener "Tuck the Darkness In" to the quirky, Tacular-led "In the Yard" to the trifecta of perfection that begins with the track featured here, "Stitch the Hem." The best thing about the song is how it both packs an immediate punch with its catchy chorus and simmers slowly in the back of your mind, listen by listen coaxing you into believing it may in fact be one of the best things you've ever heard. If anything, it will certainly be one of the most beautiful. If Moore and Tacular's impossibly smooth harmonizing, better here than ever, fails to win you over, well, then, I think you should probably have your ears checked immediately.