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coverpic flag US - North Carolina - Full Moon 191 - 04/06/12

The Clearing
Dead Oceans

"Bowerbirds make up the bird family Ptilonorhynchidae. The family has 20 species in eight genera. These are medium-sized passerines, ranging from the Golden Bowerbird (22 cm and 70 grams) to the Great Bowerbird (40 cm and 230 grams). Their diet consists mainly of fruit but may also include insects (fed to young), flowers, nectar and leaves in some species." (

North Carolina's folk-band (or: freak-folk) Bowerbirds present their third album, The Clearing with bravura, as its probably their best record so far. They even go more electric on this one. As with electric guitars. Yes, here's even drums.

Both Hymns for a Dark Horse (Burly Times/Dead Oceans 2007) and Upper Air (Dead Oceans 2009) were indeed good records, but The Clearing sparkles and shines, and it takes Bowerbirds to new heights. The original twosome/threesome, now a (touring) quintet count Phil Moore (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Beth Tacular (accordion, vocals, keys), Mark Paulson (violin, vocals), Yan Westerlund (drums, keys), and Leah Gibson (cello, keys, synth). Moore and Tacular is the core-members, along with Paulson, with Tacular's special 'bird-vocal' on top. Of course this is music created and recorded in an old cabin in the woods of North Carolina.

Opener "Tuck the Darkness In" is pure magic, and almost the worth the price alone. "In the Yard" follows, and you're convinced this is a bull's eye record. Yes, "Walk the Furrows" continues the parade. "This Year" is another height. This is awesome. They sound like a milder blend of Arcade Fire, or a rougher version of Damon and Naomi. Which means spellbinding musical stuff.

Between Upper Air and this album, Beth Tacular was hospitalized and nearly died after a mysterious illness. If she was close to death, The Clearing is truly heavenly music. Heaven and back, maybe. Bowerbirds' new album for sure is a 'full-life' experience.

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