Lifted or The Story is in the Soil....
Still, it's not an easy path. Throughout the record's ambitious 74 minutes, he finds clarity and reaches big breakthroughs before tangling it all back up again in a web of second-guessing and self-doubt.
Like a "Pet Sounds"-era Brian Wilson, Oberst is feeling the funk. He's found himself caught somewhere between being a man and a child and is trying to make sense of the world around him. And in the midst of it all, he touches back in with us, gives us something to relate to and grab hold of. He sees the "cowboy presidents" and the news media keeping us locked up in fear. His brother gets pulled over and pinned with a D.U.I. He screws up a relationship and then tries to soothe his former lover, saying, "But you should never be embarrassed by your trouble with living/ Because it's the ones with the sorest throats, Laura, who have done the most singing."
But above all else, above the great, drunken high school band backing, beyond the inside references for longtime fans and many guest appearances, he looks on things with a new-found optimism and learns that while life might be crappy sometimes, things do feel a lot better when you raise your voice and sing.
Arab Strap and Simon Joyner open this show.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3
LP / CD / MP3