Bright Eyes

Cassadaga

Written by: TL on 20/06/2007 20:53:48

Over the past few years Bright Eyes, the brainchild of indie icon Connor Oberst, have gone from nothing to being arguably one of the most hyped sensations of the genre. Their career seemingly reached a new high when their double release "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning/Digital Ash In A Digital Urn" received massive critical support and mainstream success upon its release back in 2005. This fact has of course raised expectations of the new album "Cassadaga" to a sky high level, but while it is yet another endlessly complicated piece of art, there really is no denying the fact that in terms of quality it is a coming down compared to its predecessor.

What hasn't changed is Connor's uncanny poetic abilities, and as most fans of the band will know, half the joy you get from listening to a Bright Eyes album comes from the verbal wizardry Mr Oberst is capable of. Apart from this, I suspect the guys must have been paying a lot of attention when they toured with Bruce Springsteen, as violins, hammond organs and more contribute to subtle traces of the currently ever-so-popular Americana sound he stands for. I find myself questioning the justification for having a review of this CD on this site, as it is simply as folk/country-ish a record can be without ending up like some of the music you see large farmer-looking guys with Stetsons and weird chicks with violins appear on American award shows to play.

It's hard to say what really separates Bright Eyes from both those types of artists and their indie genre-mates, but somehow there's just a quality to the music that while reminding you somehow of stuff like Bob Dylan, is still so distinctively unique that it has potential to become its own legend in time. Nevertheless on "Cassadaga" the band sports a more subtle and down tuned approach than last time around, as every aspect of the music here seems to work for the words of the songs. Contrary to "I'm Wide Awake.." that had room for outbursts like "Road To Joy" and curiosities like the half story/half song "We're At The Bottom Of Everything", everything here seems to have been built around the lyrics and their messages. While that makes sense enough, the songs that really shine are the ones where the band leaves a little more room for the music to characterize the songs more, and thus act like a conduit, captivating the listener and increasing his or her interest in the poetic content.

Hence "Cassadaga" ends up in category with the records where you can simply feel the awesome quality and depth luring right under the surface, but where you simply miss outlets where it can be felt more expressively.

7

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Release date 07.05.2007
Saddle Creek

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