Before The Birds is Glover's follow up to the hugely impressive Through The Noise, Through The Night which was our album of the month for May 2010, so it was always going to be a hard task to match its quality. Glover again went to Nashville to record with producer Nelson Hubbard. This is obviously a fruitful relationship that the pair posses as Before The Birds is simply stunning.
The overall vibe of the album is laid back and atmospheric with Glover's voice having developed a slight husky growl that gives his vocals an endearing world weariness. The opening track Trick Of The Light sets the tone for the whole album. The whole approach seems to be that less is more from the sparse instrumentation to the retrained production. The songs are allowed the space to envelope the listener and have a soothing, almost cathartic effect. I Am With You and To Believe, like Trick Of The Light, make nods to Dylan (Bob) in their structure and approach but Glover's voice is far more appealing than his Bobness's nasal tones.
The wonderful Almost Home and Song Of A Caged Bird Singing are things of rare beauty, like the type of songs that Springsteen was capable of in the early 80's with Nebraska. The pop feel of Lockdown is toned down by the interaction of banjo and hammond but it is still perhaps the most radio friendly of all the tracks. My favourite track is also the albums final one. At The Car park is an intensely dark and mesmerising song which reminds me of The Blue Nile and this is perhaps the strength of both this album and Glover himself. His sound has a familiarity to it, like all the best bits of artists he loves, yet he has nailed a sound which is uniquely his.
At only 32 minutes long and 10 songs it is over all to quickly but hey, that is what repeat button is for. With each album release he is laying down a new benchmark for himself which is going to be harder and harder to better. The thing is though, you just know that he will better it, as hard as it is going to be.