Reviews

One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels - CRC040

Author: Richard Cromelin
04/11/2004 | LA Times | www.calendarlive.com | Album Review
Besides his gifts as a singer and songwriter, one reason for Conor Oberst's indie-rock prominence is his willingness to mix it up. When his band Bright Eyes isn't in action, he'll plunge into rocking social commentary with the side project Desaparecidos or spend downtime coaxing the two women of Azure Ray into relocating to his Omaha base.

This six-song collection is another fruit of his networking, a so-called split EP featuring three Oberst compositions alternating with three written by the Omaha band Neva Dinova. Members of both groups play on all the songs, and each writer sings his own, until Neva Dinova's Jake Bellows takes the lead on Oberst's finale "Spring Cleaning," about a pregnant friend, her abusive man and a heart stored in mothballs.

Since he's crept up to the brink of stardom in the last couple of years, Oberst's contributions probably will get the main scrutiny when the EP is released April 20. These interim markers on his path to glory are wounded but hopeful love songs, casual in tone and typically impressive in their craft and artistry, with literary narrative and detail yielding the naked soul-baring that his fans treasure.

In Bellows Oberst has a formidable kindred spirit, one given to
country-flavored plaints in his own songs. Together, they're a poetically downbeat pair, a two-headed embodiment of trembling vulnerability and infinite possibility.


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