It was only a few months ago that the multi-instrumentalist whistling wizard Andrew Bird released Break It Yourself, a folky, up-beat album in which Bird sings about love and dancing and other merry little treasures of the world. Now Bird’s back with the single “Three White Horses” off his upcoming album Hands of Glory, and it’s kind of a downer. For about three minutes, Bird sings about, dying, loneliness and desperation, to name a few. He doesn’t even whistle!

Andrew Bird

Three White Horses
Mom + Pop

Instead, Bird lets the instruments do the whistling, resulting in a warbling, ghostly mini-symphony. The instrumentation on the album, by the way, is completely acoustic and recorded in a barn — how very Andrew Bird of him. While singing about the ominous “three white horses,” Bird is backed by what sounds like a somber bunch of vocalists, resulting in an autumnal, Fleet Foxes-y sound. The song kicks off with a mellow thumping bass, but picks up at the end with Bird crying out among a frantic guitar riff. After the cheery mush of Break It Yourself, a more cynical Bird is kind of nice.

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