Originally paired with the Deluxe Edition of 2009's Noble Beast, the cleverly titled Useless Creatures features nine instrumental tracks that illuminate violinist/songwriter/compulsive whistler Andrew Bird's ambient, experimental side. Bird's talent for looping just about anything serves as the project's foundation, and the rich tapestry of strings, found objects, insects, and other assorted creatures of the Midwest dutifully paints a picture of a summer day/night leaning against the barn door where Bird keeps his studio on the outskirts of Chicago. If anything, Useless Creatures provides fans who covet the meandering, more exploratory tracks that often populate his proper albums with a full plate, while giving those who are drawn more to his radio-friendly pop leanings an out. Whether it's the Konono N?1-inspired Afro-folk of "Hot Math," the languid crossover classical vibe of "You Woke Me Up!," or the epic Eno-esque "The Barn Tapes," Bird lets each track blaze its own trail, allowing for a listening experience that is surprisingly organic, considering the near constant barrage of digital manipulation. ~ James Christopher Monger
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop
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Meta Artist: Andrew Bird