Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


Fevers and Mirrors

Author: Richard A. Martin
05/26/2000 | The Boston Pheonix | Album Review
*** Three Stars

Conor Oberst is the Nebraska-based singer/songwriter behind the prolific Bright Eyes. And not since the mid 90's emergence of Elliot Smith and Hayden has a songwriter come along to slap listeners across the face with such untamed emotion, daring guitar work, and twisted wordplay. Oberst has spent most of his early 20s in his bedroom, recording his musings about family, romance, and death. But on Fevers and Mirrors, which should be his breakout album, he steps into a full-fledged studio to record a set of songs that benefit greatly from the dynamics that only a proper mike compressor can offer.
Take the creepy show tune that alludes to "Sunrise, Sunset," in which Oberst subverts the hopeful slant of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" to catalogue a series of missteps; he nearly shatters the speakers as he spits, "Your lover is an actress/Did you really think she'd stay?" This is a style that would benefit from some down time, or maybe a rousing chorus. But it's hard to fault an album with a song as passionate as "The Calendar Hung Itself," a ricocheting samba about a guy who'd probably be stalking his ex if he hadn't hit the road. In a Chicago hotel, he gives up, phones her, and sings, menacingly, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." That kind of frightening moment makes Fevers and Mirrors one of the most rewarding indie-rock releases so far this year.
Fevers and Mirrors

Fevers and Mirrors

LP / CD / MP3