One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels
By the time this 2004 collaboration with Omaha band Neva Dinova was originally released, Oberst had been photographed kissing Winona Ryder and he assumed near-celebrity status as a result. He'd also begun veering away from the emotionally and musically intense, distraught stylings of his early songs towards a more folk- and country-inspired sound. One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels could well be seen as the turning point before he made the full transition.
This reissue begins with four newly-written collaborations. Of these, Happy Accident recaptures the doubt-ridden freneticism of early Bright Eyes, while Someone's Love, sung by Neva Dinova's Jake Bellows, is a barroom tale of longing which slurs along with appropriate drunken affection. Both can claim to be new highlights, standing alongside the release's previous standout moment, the brilliant Black Comedy. A stripped-down requiem to lost youth and love, it remains one of the best songs in the Bright Eyes canon.
The problem is that, by comparison, the other five original songs and the two other new ones just sound slightly stale. I'll Be Your Friend is the best of the rest, but Tripped trundles along apathetically and lethargically in faux-country sincerity, while Poison lasts too long and gets bogged down by too much country twang. Although only four minutes long, Get Back also outstays its welcome, and album closer Spring Cleaning lacks punch or variation. It's a shame, because there are some truly marvellous moments here. Unfortunately, these high standards aren't consistently maintained.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / Deluxe LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3