Limited to just 250 copies, the self-released Fingerlings documents Andrew Bird's electrifying live show, both in solo performance and backed by his Bowl of Fire. Though no recording dates are given, the material is culled from appearances across the country, most notably hometown venues the Abbey Pub and the Hideout, the latter Chicago's best live music spot; much of the material has yet to appear on any of Bird's Rykodisc LPs, and presumably anticipates an upcoming studio project. Although the performances featuring the full Bowl of Fire lineup are incendiary, highlighted by a barnstorming rendition of The Swimming Hour's "How Indiscreet," the best songs here are also the most stripped down; whether solo or backed solely by the great singer/guitarist Nora O'Connor, Bird thrives in more intimate contexts, where his virtuoso violin work achieves new peaks of beauty and grace and his songs, absent the genre trappings of their studio counterparts, even more effectively capture the cosmopolitan timelessness of their musical agenda.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny