Hands of Glory might not stand alone as a release without the context provided by Break It Yourself, but it nevertheless serves as a testament to how capable and creative Bird can be when he’s dialed in.
It doesn’t shock or change the course of rivers, but it does invite, and welcome, and maybe pour you a cup of tea and ask about your day.
Hands of Glory possesses an almost academic quality, as though Bird and his cohorts were presenting a musical essay about endtimes imagery in country music.
It’s nice to skim over and hear once or twice, but returning to Break It Yourself feels more rewarding.
Although the album lacks Bird's innovative overdubs and multiple instrumental lines, what's gained is clarity—and proof positive that Bird may be one of the finest performers working today,
Bird manages to work his self-analytical tack into the album here and there, but it never stood a chance to matching the heights of his original work, and likely never intended to.