A Collection of Songs Written and...
05/22/1998 | San Francisco Express | Album Review
Saddle Creek's latest stars Conor Oberst, boy-of-all-trades behind the Bright Eyes moniker. The songs-cacophonous, folky amalgams-are among the sixty he four-tracked between his fifteen and seventeenth birthdays; they reflect a low-fi approach equal parts Portastatic and singer/songwriter Simon Joyner. Unlike Joyner, Conor decorates his mostly acoustic delivery with everything he can get his hands on- movie dialogue, television static, keyboard bursts, backwards AM radio saamples, programmed drums, and scratchy sound effects. The mix of melody and distorto-din lends the sloppy recordings a deliberate artfullness, and the affecting, often tender musicis complemented by poetic lyrics that no sixteen-yeer-old should have been able to write. Among the standouts are the Paul Westerberg pop kick of "Falling Out of Love at This Volume" and the aching, redemptive "February Fifteenth."