Reviews

One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels

Author: Lee Zimmerman
05/04/2010 | Blurt | www.blurt-online.com | Album Review
Originally released in 2004, this split collaboration between Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova marked yet another important juncture in Connor Oberst's road to indie acclaim. Although it initially consisted of six songs, the reissue is expanded by the addition of four newly recorded tracks and a running time that brings it closer to an actual LP. The result is a more substantial offering that's all the more striking the second time around.

In practice, Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova pretty much took the same tack. Both bands specialized in a fragile, unassuming persona, a solitary sound that emphasized a low gaze ambiance that borrowed heavily from both Buckleys -- Tim and Jeff -- as well as Elliot Smith, Leonard Cohen, and on moments of special inspiration, Bob Dylan. And yet, despite the brooding vocals and wistful pacing, the solemn vulnerability creates a visceral impact that resonates emphatically. The loping "I Know You" and "Tripped" are especially noteworthy -- the former an Oberst addition, the latter, an original entry from Neva Dinova - and all the more remarkable for the way they segue so perfectly together. Likewise, the latter's fragile "Poison" and Bright Eyes' "I'll Be Your Friend" create a brittle couplet that boasts an unassuming charm.

That meditative pulse remains consistent throughout. Indeed, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels serves up a most intoxicating brew.