Review: Rusty Willoughby - "Cobirds Unite"

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Rusty Willoughby

Cobirds Unite

By Rod

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I've been a Rusty Willoughby fan for a long time, from his mid-'80s power pop outfit Pure Joy to his most successful band, ironically named Flop, through to his most recent ensemble, Llama. Cobirds Unite is Willoughby's third solo album but in many ways it is unlike anything we've heard from him before. Press play and your reward is an hour of lush, reserved, alt-country dreamscapes, with languid waltzes, subtle bossanovas and pared-down ballads sweetened up with cello, vibraphone and pedal steel flourishes in all the right places. Visqueen's Rachel Flotard provides harmonies throughout the entire album, following nearly every line of every verse, her slightly smoky, sultry voice blending beautifully with Willoughby's reedy, could-be-a-Brit delivery. The gorgeous production by Johnny Sangster lends a rich warmth to Cobirds, making it feel as comfy as that old sweater full of holes you still can't seem to stop wearing. But there are no holes here; just some of the finest songwriting we've heard from Willoughby so far and a fantastic supporting cast to make this Cobird sing.