Fevers and Mirrors
06/06/2000 | Faster than Sheep | Album Review
For myself, Fevers and Mirrors really begins with "The Calendar Hung Itself," where angular, disjointed guitar chords add to the tension created so simply by Conor Oberst's rather frantic vocals, "Does he kiss your eyelids in the morning when you start to raise your head?/ And does he sing to you incessantly from the place between your bed and wall? / Does he walk around all day at school with his feet inside your shoes?/ Looking down every few steps to pretend he walks with you." The song is a classic "boy obsessively loves girl, girl loves some other boy" story, with a touch of neurosis that is right up Conor's alley. The very next song, "Something Vague" takes on a more relaxed approach overall, but the mood eventually turns to angst. Musically speaking, Fevers and Mirrors is noticeably lighter-hearted than previous Bright Eyes records. Oberst brought in a larger group of musicians and spent over a month recording the album using the 24-track studio owned by Lullaby for the Working Class' Mogis brothers (both of which play on Fevers and Mirrors). The difference manifests itself as epic pop songs with titles like "The Movement of a Hand" and "Haligh, Haligh, Haligh." As usual, Conor's way is to blur the line between what is real and what is imagined or conjured up. His songs often tell intimate stories that sound just too bizarre or troubling to be completely understood, but that tends to draw listeners in very closely, like he's "whispering all of his deepest darkest secrets" (to use his own words). And for a relatively young fella, he appears to have a good number of deep, dark secrets to keep. The important thing to take away from this review is the following: Bright Eyes' Fevers and Mirrors is one of the most important albums you'll get to hear this year. Oberst's vision comes straight from his good-intentioned but much troubled soul. It's just too awesome to turn away from.