Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews



Author: Fred Shuster
04/12/2007 | Los Angeles Daily News | | Album Review
Named after a spiritualist community in Florida, the sixth and latest dispatch from Conor Oberst and his extra-sensitive perception is a warmhearted set of occasionally orchestrated love songs with jam-band leanings. The 13 tracks are mostly loose and acoustic and some could even be instant classics. "Make a Plan to Love Me," which accesses girl-group harmonies and pretty strings, reveals Oberst (backed by collaborators from Omaha's apparently thriving indie scene) has moved beyond heart-on-the-sleeve ballads into broader, more insightful territory.

Equally good are "If the Brakeman Turns My Way" and "Soul Singer in a Session Band" (sample lyric: "I was a hopeless romantic, now I'm just turning tricks"), which take a welcome detour down a rootsy highway paved decades earlier by The Band. Creative production ideas abound elsewhere, too, particularly during the moody "Middleman," which brings strings and woodwinds together for an unexpected rave-up. Topping it all off is Oberst at his best, a songwriter rapidly moving from strength to strength.



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