Andrew Reed confined himself to isolation before it was necessary. His intention was to take a break from the outside forces of the music world and ever-present social media. The result: the collection of tracks that makes up As a Bird of the Air…
As a Bird of the Air… is a concept album wrapped in grandness, electric guitar, and vocal washes. There is no shortage of 80s and 90s nostalgia, but the shifting tones and movement is something unique to this moment. Having released the successful If All the World Were Right in 2018, Reed has opted to shift in a new direction. This album pulls electric mood from the moment and finds atmosphere from analog tape running at three times normal speed.
80s New Wave inspiration permeates these tracks, which tell a story of love found and lost. “Strangers” is all hooky melodies and smooth guitar pop, while “Dropping Out of the Race” channels Psychedelic Furs jauntiness and danceability. But an innovator like Reed is never confined to one mood: “Memory” lingers as a ballad with a snapping rhythm and clear vocals.
Slowly, the story being told unfurls. We meet our “a day away from twenty” protagonist in “Escape”, then feel the love fall apart on “Too Little Too Late”. “Musical Woman” is raw romance and “Another Time, Another Place” accepts what cannot be. The story is of one who wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to feel it. Just as a bird in the air is free, we can see that this album attains — through better and worse — its own kind of freedom.