CD Review: Bowerbirds — The Clearing; Playing Black Cat, March 21 and The EARL, April 15

The Clearing
Dead Oceans

Review by Ellen Eldridge

The third release by Bowerbirds, The Clearing, acts like a support beam stretching across the first two releases. The tightness of sound, mellowed by the luxuries accompanying the success it takes to make it to album three, showcases the simple honesty in its message. The band’s Facebook Page admits its first releases were “made on the quick and the cheap, with nylon-stringed guitars, fiddle lines and drum patterns that became comfortable.” The tracks on The Clearing soothe with strings that marry well the piano and vibraphone, much like the love existing between Beth Tacular and Phil Moore. Though Tacular and Moore broke up briefly, they reunited after realizing that they didn’t want anyone else – that peaceful feeling of satisfaction and a willingness to explore life in all its turbulence shines through the climactic moments in the collection of songs. The opening song, “Now We Hurry On,” lends well to themes of reconnecting love with lines like, “What we miss, we miss, we miss, and what we see is what we get.”

The constant hum permeating the album settles in to songs like “In the Yard” with its ooohs and ahhhs. The closing track, “Tuck the Darkness In,” really calls to mind the fact that Tacular nearly died from a mysterious illness between the 2009 release of Upper Air and the release of The Clearing. The title’s perspective shows what the band set out to do with this release, “sing of the best and most important moments of their life and, in turn, create new ones.”

The Clearing most certainly is not the album one would take on a long road trip, but rather the artful soundtrack to a good dream; a dream to carry us each through life searching endlessly for that which defines not only us but also where we belong.

Bowerbirds play Black Cat on March 21…

… and The EARL on April 15.

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