Reviews

Fevers and Mirrors

Author: Jeff Clark
08/01/2000 | Stomp and Stammer | www.stompandstammer.com | Album Review
Taking in the recent Grandaddy show at the 40 Watt, I was advised to check out the opening band. Having never listened to Bright Eyes before, I must say I was suitably astounded by their subtle yet utterly intense set. No one in the band looked of drinking age, but the gracefulness of the musical presentation and emotional depth of the songs belied their youth. This particular night they were a four-piece, but I guess they've been known to include upwards of double that number. They've also formed something of a bond with the current Athens scene - their previous full-length featured members of Neutral Milk Hotel (with whom they share many stylistic flourished) and Of Montreal, while Andy LeMaster figures heavily on this one.
Fevers and Mirrors, the Nebraska ensemble's third full-length disc, starts out shaky but builds strength every moment it plays on. Conor Oberst is indeed a formidable lyrical craftsmen; emotional upheaval, tragedy, sadness and madness inform these words; still, there's a sense of wonder straining through the cracks of his quivering, unhinged voice. The lonely longing in "The Calendar Hung Itself" is palpable: "Does he know that place below your neck that is your favorite to be touched / And does he cry through broken sentences that I love you far too much? / Is he coughing now on a bathroom floor?" Later in the same song: "I kissed a girl with a broken jaw that her father gave to her / She had eyes bright enough to burn me / They reminded me of yours." That's simply a sad, wonderful love song. "Haleigh, Haleigh, A Lie, Haleigh," "The Center of the World," "An Attempt to Tip the Scales" and "A Song to Pass the Time" are perfect, empathetic meldings of words and sound, while the despairing "Arienette" serves as the album's centerpiece. "The fragile keep secrets, gathered in pockets," Oberst warbles as the song opens. "And they will sell them for nothing - a cheap watch or locket. That kind of gold washes off."
Time spins on and we're never the same, and works of such poetic, candid majesty as this get rarer and rarer. Don't let it pass you by.
Fevers and Mirrors

Fevers and Mirrors

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