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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bright Eyes - Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

My fourth venture into the world of Conor Oberst and although easily the least accessible so far, this is yet another great album. It's a complex feast of lyricism and musicality that takes a little hard work to fully appreciate, and I've got to say after the first couple of listens I thought it was awful. But as is usually the case with decent albums, repeated listens illustrated the beauty and artistry in these songs, with the word-play and vocal delivery particularly standing out.

Conor is another of those artists out there who are definitely ploughing their own furrow. Each of his albums could not be mistaken for anyone else, but each one still has a presence and individuality all of its own. Digital Ash is less folky, less organic and less immediate than I'm Wide Awake. It's more urban, electronic and soundscaped than the standard offering, but the words still flow with a ease and fluidity of a natural talent.

There's a real pain in these lyrics. You could argue there is always underlying pain in his narratives, however this pain is more overt. He's confused, empty, hollow and at times bitter, but as always there's that distant sparkle of hope hidden in all that introspection. The highlights come thick and fast, but the standout tracks for me are the surprisingly jaunty 'Hit the Switch', the hauntingly catchy 'Devil in the Details', and the baby crying fun of 'Ship in a Bottle'.

If you don't already love Bright Eyes, it's not the best of starting points. However if I'm preaching to the converted, then it's definitely one for your Amazon list and an acerbic little titbit to look forward to.

1 comment:

  1. i'm a massive fan of bright eyes, and was so happy to see Conor Oberst had brought out another album. This review really does sum up what a great album it is!