Reviews

Every Day and Every Night

Author: Thomas Prindle
11/01/1999 | Instant Magazine | www.instantmag.com | Album Review
Listening to Conor Oberst's most recent release, the feelings evoked are similar to what may occur when viewing and reading an Edward Gorey tale. For example, Edward Gorey's tale "The Loathsome Couple" is introduced as a book that, "...may well prove to be its author's most unpleasant ever." Gorey's classic sketch-linear drawings accompanied by quips citing, "Harold Snedleigh was found beating a sick small animal to death with a rock when he was five years old," or, "That year Mona Gritch was born to a pair of drunkards, " tells a curious tale that may make one cringe. And like Edward Gorey, Conor Oberst somehow attracts the listener in another manner of folk-art to areas of
despair, horror, and curiosities that may otherwise repulse. In that respect, Every Day and Every Night is a five song E.P. that reiterates a recent quote praising the artist as, "...the next singer-songwriter of true importance to emerge from the American indie music scene."

Following previous releases, A Collection of Songs (a 20 song repressing) and Letting Off Happiness(11 song L.P.) which saw assistance and collaboration from members of Cursive, Lullaby For The Working Class, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and others, Every Day and Every Night showcases Conor's founded ability to write substantial lyric and soundly crafted song. Bright Eyes, similarly configured like the Will Oldham/Palace/Bonnie Prince Billy mystique, is Conor Oberst serving central figure to this album's ensemble that most notably includes labelmate Mike Mogis of Lullaby For The Working Class again assisting in recording and various instrumentation.

The material for this release is brooding and at times painfully honest. Poetic and poignant, the opening song "A line allows progress, a circle does not" confronts addiction in a questionable first or third person account, "You stand near the sink while you're mixing a drink, you think you don't want to pass out where your roommates will find you again." Not quite Gothic but more of The Graveyard School of Poetry, the song "On my way to work" serves more an image of horror than that of terror when the singer/songwriter accompanied by pedal steel guitar wonders of a freshly dug grave's occupant, "I wondered about the occupant when the darkness finally swallowed him was he calm and content. Or was he sweating in a struggle to keep breathing, ripping apart the sheets that dressed his bed, crying out loud for someone to help him and collapsing on his back all pale and dead." The final song "Neely O'hara" emulates lyrically a "Valley of the Dolls" character on the albums most dynamic recording complete with backward track layering and subverted soundtrack-like audio creating an industrial/folk soundscape.

With a full length release titled Fevers and Mirrors slated for a May release Every Day and Every Night may find itself similarly reflected upon like Edward Gorey's work as, "This album may well prove to be its singer/songwriter's most unpleasant ever." I hope so because it is that unpleasantness that marks its importance and brilliance.