While Dr. Robert's fifth solo album is worlds away from the suave '80s pop of his Blow Monkeys days, it's also a return to more accessible terrain, following the spare, mystical folk of 1999's Flatlands. On Bird's Gotta Fly, the sound is fleshed out with the energetic drumming of Ben Burns and the sweeping violin work of Nell Catchpole, while harmonica, cornet, and pedal steel further color the songs. The results are still a good bit more rustic than anything fans of "Digging Your Scene" might expect -- especially on the faux-field recording of "Sycamore Tree" -- while on the title track and "The Nearly Room," the good Doctor offers up unfashionably rootsy rock, with the lazily swaying grooves the only connection the to his dance-club days. However, most of the album is rather charming, in spite of the determinedly plain presentation, and "Still Got a Lot to Learn" is one of Dr. Robert's best efforts: Showing a new depth to his distinctive vocals, the gentle acoustic ballad is a love song with real heart.
AllMusic Review by Dan LeRoy