After a record like Armchair Apocrypha, you'd expect Bird to take a different direction, headed towards, maybe, baroque rock, or electronic rock. Not that that's a bad thing, Armchair was a pretty good album. But on Noble Beast, he stays, for the most part, on the old beaten path, a path filled with catchy drum tracks and melodies, and lots of whistling and violins. You know, old Bird style. The most he strays away is on Not a Robot, But a Ghost, a song he wrote with Martin Dosh, his drummer, and an awesome dude. Quite possibly the catchiest tune here, Not a Robot spits out rapid-fire beats like nobody's business. And mixed in with Andrew's quivery voice, it fits together like a puzzle board. Masterswarm, however, is clearly hinting at The Mysterious Production of Eggs, his second album, and my favorite one to date. A mysterious melody, with the classic violin plucking, and clock-ticking, and lots and lots of claps. However, a lot of songs after this just seem like fillers, and show nothing interesting or potentially ear-catching, except for Souverian, an epic 7 minute-er, that halfway through, begins to sound like an Arcade Fire song, if Arcade Fire were that into violins.
Overall, this record has a few memorable tunes, but knocking off a few songs wouldn't have hurt.