I See Three Birds Flying is the majestic and arresting sixth album from Adrian Crowley. Co-produced with long standing studio comrade, Stephen Shannon, it’s the follow up to 2009's Choice Music Prize winning 'Season of the Sparks' and heralds a new found confidence for the Irishman as he delivers a deeply contemplative, impossibly rich addition to an already impressive body of work.
With many of the vocals captured in the first take, there’s a palpable immediacy to these recordings that compliments the assuredness of the playing. Performing on an array of instruments ranging from the marxophone, mellotron, baby grand piano, electric guitar and omnichord, Crowley mixes the arcane and the curious with present day technology to weave a perfect backdrop for his fertile story-telling.
The recording sessions saw him call upon a handful of loyal friends and collaborators, such as London based string duo Geese (Emma Smith & Vincent Sipprell) and Cork cellist, Kevin Murphy, resulting in arrangements every bit as Histoire de Melodie Nelson as they are Five Leaves Left. Another creative partnership was forged with celebrated visual artist Annie Atkins who employed her own panoramic and intimate photography to create the album’s striking artwork, perfectly reflecting the music within.
In I See Three Birds Flying, Adrian Crowley's peerless baritone imbues the material with both tenderness and menace. His clear-eyed song-writing leads us from the 'shady arbours' and the 'blue of the heavens' (Red River Maples) to a sense of euphoria via the celebratory percussion of The Morning Bells. There are flashes of humour too and a playful turn of phrase: 'Little did I know what little I'd forget' from Lady Lazarus and 'Got the royalest of soakings in a London shower' in September Wine.
With the 'house of shells', the 'secret devotion', the 'lantern on the night table' and the 'catherine wheels spinning bright in the dark', I See Three Birds Flying can perhaps be more evocatively described using the images that lie within its songs.