Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

Author: Gabriel Sheffer
02/01/2005 | | | Album Review
Bright Eyes' two new albums--"I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" and "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn," both released on Jan. 25--are each wondrous and epic, though the former takes the acoustic Americana route, while the latter embraces synthetic, drum-machine loops and blips-and-beeps.

Despite the distinctions, both albums present the perfect Bright Eyes experience: sullen lyrics and automatically memorable melodies delivered with Conor Oberst's trademark vulnerable warble. Sort of like classic Cure.

On "I'm Wide Awake ..." Oberst, 24, is accompanied by iconic Emmylou Harris--as good a barometer of one's creative stature as any in modern folk rock. Of the two, "Digital Ash" will take longer to digest. Heck, that may make it the more valuable release down the road. It doesn't matter. Both releases are uncompromising and satisfying.

But two complete albums released simultaneously? Indeed, that's often the sign of an artist's inability to edit himself. Consider Guns N' Roses' "Use Your Illusion Vols. 1 & 2," or Springsteen's "Better Days" and "Lucky Town" and you get the drift. But for Conor Oberst and his band, these two albums represent not an overabundance of material, but rather an embrace of Bright Eyes' scope, scale and range.


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Cassadaga (Remastered)

Cassadaga (Remastered)

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