Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
01/18/2005 | Rake | Album Review
Who doesn't have a bit of a thing for Conor Oberst, the doe-eyed Nebraskan whose angst-ridden, poetic ballads draw comparisons to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon? With fame and success firmly planted on his doorstep (which is now in Manhattan), Oberst, who has made some nine recordings as Bright Eyes, is becoming a more relaxed, less self-conscious musician. Gone are the strained, brittle vocals and jagged guitar riffs that characterized previous albums like 2000's "Fever and Mirrors." Although Oberst's broken heart seems to be on the mend (no mentions of "Kathy" in these newest albums), his maturing fury turns on darkening political landscapes and consumerist gluts. "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" brings together twangy, intimate, country-inspired fare, while "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" is a high-production, full-band effort offering rock anthems for a pissed-off generation to come.