The People's Key
Author: Mike Conklin
2/15/11 | Crawdaddy.com | www.crawdaddy.com | Record Review
The sixth full-length from Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes, and their first since 2006, The People's Key marks a noticeable departure from the folk/country-influenced sound of Oberst's recent solo work, and a move back toward the slightly more electronically enhanced sound he's toyed with throughout his career. There are some really great melodies, especially early on the record, that take you off guard?zigging when you think they'll zag, and vice versa?and Oberst's voice sounds assured and refreshingly no-nonsense throughout. The subject matter continues on the more abstract road he began to explore on his solo albums, where he picked up this sort of trying mystical poet thing. One could make the argument that listening to him was more fun, and more affecting, when he didn't sound so sure of himself. Still, though, the good outweighs the bad here, and it doesn't hurt that the LP has some of the coolest packaging you'll see anywhere this year.