Andrew Bird Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs

This prolific and multi-faceted talent made a mark with the three Rykodisc albums his first band — Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire — released from 1997 to 2001. With his virtuoso violin playing as their key weapon, they created a dazzlingly eclectic sound that earned rave reviews internationally. The Mysterious Production of Eggs is more of a solo project, with Bird contributing most of the instrumentation. He remains musically adventurous, embellishing his lyrically imaginative songs and gently melodic vocals with the subtle and intelligent use of strings, keyboards, and the backing vocals of fellow Chicagoan Nora O’Connor. The fusion of chamber music elements with singer-songwriter stylings at times recalls the work of Alejandro Escovedo, as on the aggressive intro to "Fake Palindromes.” Elsewhere, reference points evoked include the Penguin Café Orchestra and Poi Dog Pondering. Bird’s playful lyrics are another pleasure, as he comes up with rhymes like "Valkyries, vagaries and proclivities,” or "bride, formaldehyde and fratricide.” Add in beautifully designed album artwork and you have a gem of a package that pleases the ear, eye, and brain. (Righteous Babe)