The cover of Wallis Bird’s seventh studio album HANDS features her hand with half of her pinky missing from a lawnmower accident when she was young. The shape is unusual, but Bird is learning to love the uncommon. She elaborates, “this led me to relearn how to hold things, and, when the time came, to play the guitar differently. As a toddler, I remember seeing those cave pictures and being fascinated. What happened? How painful was that? This shaped me: I wanted to draw my heart like that, to celebrate time, scars, stories and humanity on a wall where others could too.”
The opening track, Go, starts without one second of hesitation. It glows with bustling beats that launch you headfirst into the album. It is an energetic opening that props up the gutsy second track, What’s Wrong With Changing? In her lyrics, Bird doesn’t mush up her meaning. It is shielded from the whims of those who might benefit from acting as if they misheard.
She sings Let’s move forward a little bit/A lid-el-ee-iddle bit forward to 2015/The island of Ireland is making a real big scenе/Gay marriage voted “Yes”/Panti Bliss is thе Queen/And there’s nothing stopping there/It broke the church from the state/To repeal the 8th/And now it’s moving in a positive way/And you love to see it. The track is openly political, and we truly do love to see it. The last track, Pretty Lies, begins with the sounds of life, singing birds, a namesake and a symbol of wind-carried change and a willingness to move forward. She sings “It was a long-ass year/Couldn’t wait for it to end/Full of loss and fear/Couldn’t wait for it to end/And it opens my arms/Opened my arms to so much change.”
Prolific and flexible, Bird never fails to offer up the real goods. By her own hands, she bends with the chords she builds and freely demonstrates that inner transformation comes from creation. HANDS drops May 27th via Virgin Records/Mount Silver Records.