If you like Andrew Bird’s music, you’re going to love I Want to See Pulaski at Night. The latest EP from Bird is a beautifully structured mini-album filled with swooning violin riffs and endless loops. The opening track, “Ethio Invention no. 1” sounds like there’s a whole orchestra behind him but if you know Bird, you’ll know it’s just him with his violin and a bunch of delay pedals. The combination of plucking strings and romantic violin melodies is hypnotic, drawing me in immediately.
There is only one track with lyrics (the title track) and it appears in the middle of record. Listening to the album as a whole, it makes sense why “I Want to See Pulaski at Night” is in the middle. It serves as the dramatic climax to the melancholy and begging melodies that come before and the peaceful resolving melodies that come after. In the song, he’s pleading for an anonymous person to “come back to Chicago” and to start things over. Bird’s violin aches for that person throughout the entire EP.
It sounds as if Bird has come to peace with whoever he was begging to come back to Chicago.
The second half of the album resolves in a peaceful, melodic violin and piano duet with the track “Hover 1.” The album ends with “Ethio Invention no. 2,” reiterating the cyclical nature of this album. Both Ethio Inventions share the same theme but no. 2 sounds more confident and less frantic. It sounds as if Bird has come to peace with whoever he was begging to come back.
A few notes about the vinyl: the packaging and presentation are completely minimal. There’s no indication that this is an Andrew Bird album except for the sticker on the shrinkwrap. Once removed, all you see on the front cover is the album art of the title. The physical record itself is also very minimal, only showing labels for side A and side B. I was surprised to find that the record is meant to be played at 45 RPM. There’s nothing on the record or jacket that notes this. A 12 inch 45 RPM record is uncommon but preferred as it allows each track more space on the record surface, improving the sound.
I Want to See Pulaski at Night is definitely a record that commands your entire attention. Do yourself a favor and take a moment out of your day to listen to the record all the way through without doing anything else. It may be a short album but I put it up there with some of Bird’s best work.