Review: Bowerbirds – The Clearing

Bowerbirds (Photo from their Facebook )

There comes a point where you just get sick of electronics. It seems that most of the people really doing unique and incredible work are all using their Mac as much as they are their Fender. While there are incredible artists doing incredible things, it is nice that an album like this can come out and prove that you can still be unique using traditional instruments and voices.

Bowerbirds does as good of a job as anyone in reminding you that there is a place in our society for people who just want to play pretty songs and sing pretty songs and like to have pianos bedded with clapping and and increasingly epic guitars. While we have been inundated with your Mumford and Sons and your Avetts (both just incredible acts) there seems to be a void in the sort of folk-pop-rock that leaves you better than when it found you. I think the recent popularity of those two kind of proves that there is a desire for that sort of feeling.

Bowerbirds’ The Clearing is one of those albums that makes you feel good about yourself. Not in a super happy bouncy, whistly sort of way, but in that way that makes everything you do that much more meaningful. It is the musical equivalent of riding your bike on a seventy degree day and thinking you’re Lance Armstrong or seeing your significant other get off a plane after being gone for a week and you just know the kiss you’re going to share will be just like in The Notebook. It feels like you’re actually living each day like its your last. None of those things are ever actually true, only Lance Armstrong rides like Lance Armstrong and only Hollywood can create such an epic love and very rarely do we live a day like its our last, but man does everything seem like its that much more important when you listen to The Clearing.

This is an album that at the end of the day just makes me happy that I have music in my life. Not for analysis and not because it allows me critical thinking and not for the creativity it allows me as a writer. But just for how the art itself can have an emotional impact. I know I didn’t really analyze this on a track by track or note by note, but for something with this much overwhelming epic feel it seems silly to really break it down that way.

To bring this around for an Iowa slant, Bowerbirds shares a co-headline with my newest celebrity crush and next big thing Sharon Van Etten as part of the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City on March 30. You can read my preview for that fest right Here