Author: Len Righi
07/07/2007 | Allentown Morning Call | Album Review
To be sure, there are times when "Cassadaga" is easier to admire than embrace. But one fact remains: No one but Conor Oberst, the uber-talented 27-year-old singer-songwriter from Omaha, Neb., could have created such a heartfelt work as Bright Eyes' seventh studio disc. On "Cassadaga" Oberst's ruminations are both mature and youthfully incandescent as he contemplates life's hard truths, unsavory compromises, heartening promises and "blindfold faith" illusions. Occasionally Oberst indulges in whorled electronica-type atmospherics, the best example being the opening "Claireaudients (Kill or Be Killed)." Most often he uses the straightforward instrumentation of Americana -- dusty acoustic guitars, fiddle, pedal steel, organ, mandolin, dobro, even ukulele -- recalling those homemade-sounding albums of the mid- to late 1960s, when folk, country and blues all swirled into rock. Space precludes naming every highlight, but "Make a Plan to Love Me" is enchanting, "I Must Belong Somewhere" dizzying fun and "Lime Tree" a shattering masterpiece about the rueful aftermath of an abortion.