Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews



Author: Elizabeth Goodman
01/13/2007 | | | Album Review
We just spent an excellent evening in a weird, cozy hotel room, drinking shitty red wine and listening to the new Bright Eyes album Cassadaga.

Our impressions:

Nowhere has Conor Oberts' fractured personality been more obvious than on Bright Eyes' 2005 releases Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, and I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. So unresolved was his battle between traditionalism and experimentalism that he had to make two separate albums to accommodate each. On Cassadaga Oberst seems to have solved the split personality problem by layering all of it the optimistic strings and the gritty, impassioned vocals together on track after spine-tingling track. Some of our favorites so far? The distorted thrasher "Hot Knives," which features the expert pounding of ex Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, and our new favorite vocal "I've made love, yeah/ I've been fucked/ so what." We also really like not at all soul-like waltz "Soul Singer in a Session Band," which brings into vivid focus all the messy alcoholic freedom of our favorite Bright Eyes shows.

Cassadaga doesn't come out until April 9th, but a collection of songs recorded by Conor and his bandmates Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott (Oberst has named these long-time collaborators as official members of band, making it a trio rather than a solo act) will be released March 6th as the Four Winds EP. "Four Winds" a confident country romp that is fundamentally cool because of its reference to Joan Didion's "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" appears on both the EP and the album. The other five tracks on the EP (full track list after the jump) are B-sides and both sonically and lyrically serve as a sort of bridge between last year's records, and what you'll hear on Cassadaga. "Reinvent the Wheel," for example makes great use of the full orchestra Bright Eyes managed to wrangle for this album (they recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood,) and "Smoke Without Fire" features M. Ward's distinctive lulling baritone.

You excited yet?

1. Four Winds
2. Reinvent the Wheel
3. Smoke Without Fire
4. Stray Dog Freedom
5. Cartoon Blues
6. Tourist Trap


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