Andrew Bird // HARK!
This new EP features interpretations of holidays classics as well as new original songs
Loma Vista Recordings
Over two decades into his career, storied songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has pretty much earned creative license to do whatever he pleases. That includes releasing a short and sweet, six-song Christmas EP titled HARK!, which features both interpretations of holiday standards and new original songs. One such original song is opening track "Alabaster," one of only three pieces that feature Bird's comforting vocals. Meanwhile, his versions of the seasonal staples are at the very least effective, and at times, truly beautiful. While "Christmas is Coming" is largely delivered as is, Bird's take on Vince Guaraldi's "Skating" is an absolute joy, incorporating textured strings into the Peanuts classic. The thing is, Bird is talented enough to never let these songs droop below an enjoyable level; you're either given a standard like "White Christmas," which is more than worthy of your holiday playlist, or you get a truly stunning version of "Oh Holy Night" featuring a theremin. On that level, HARK! works as both a holiday release and something pleasantly inessential to tide over Bird fans for the holiday season.
— Aaron Mook