Andrew Bird – “Fitz and the Dizzyspells” EP Lightning Review

Andrew Bird - Fitz and the Dizzyspells EPI’ve had this EP in my collection for some time but I haven’t given it a proper listen until now.  Return visits to the Vienna airport make you utilize every bit of digital entertainment available.  So, after enjoying some tube on the Slingbox, I’ve decided to turn my attention to music.

The five tracks contained in the EP come off as an ideal travel soundtrack.  Something about Bird’s laconic vocals and woozy string arrangements seem to fit the mood of an airport layover.  It is a mellow accompaniment to the movings of travelers through transfer desks, smoky bar/cafes, security and finally the departure halls.  World weary and with a temple headache raging, Bird’s lyrics push me on, imploring, “Soldier on, soldier on.”

So, the title track of the EP is just as it is on the album from whence it comes.  However, things get more interesting on the second track – and that’s where the wooziness really sets in.  “Sectionate City” is a string laden think piece.  As the fuse of the song burns down, the listener is left with a slow flipping through the FM dial on some tube-gutted radio worlds away.

“Ten-You-Us” is an acoustic guitar reworking of `Tenuousness’ from the Noble Beast album.  As I pass through the 21st Century’s replacement for the Greyhound bus stop, the lyrics subliminally describe what I see.  “Who wants to look upon this, pray tell?”

“See the Enemy” is all plucked, staccato strings backed with a shuffling hi-hat and snare propelling the groove.  It’s another reworking from Noble Beast (“Anonanimal”) and works better than the original to this traveler.  The shimmering guitars really propel it above the mid-tempo groove that seemed to keep it from greatness in its original form.

Finally, “The Nightshade Gets in It” ushers the album out on a bed of picked strings, ebbing and flowing in each measure and finally coming to an glitchy, electronic halt as the EP fades away.  “Fitz and Dizzyspells” stays around just long enough to notice but leaves before you really realize what has happened – much like four hours in the Vienna airport.

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