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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bright Eyes – Cassadaga 2007

The legendary Conor Oberst presents 2007’s Cassadaga album, and as sure as night follows day, it’s that textbook combination of poetic genius and camp acoustic accompaniment. Deeper and darker than ‘I’m Wide Awake…’ and infinitely more accessible than ‘Digital Ash,’ it strikes the perfect balance between the melodic and obtuse sides of Conor’s musical persona.

All the trademarks are there. The curious yet beautiful introspective lyrics, the alt-country twang of the occasional slide guitar and the off kilter harmonies provided by the studio cleaner, (although she’s improved massively from her input on ‘I’m Wide Awake’). Throw in some new quirks like the Susan’s House style vocal samples, some ethnic wailing and some lovely folky fiddling and you’ve got a monster of an album on your hands.

It takes a few listens, but every song is ultimately a winner. ‘No-one Would Riot for Less’ is straightforward and minimal, ‘Middleman’ is atmospheric old school folk, and ‘Brakeman’ is strangely anthemic and downcast at the same time. Best of all is the fiddle-fest of ‘Four Winds’ which combines a jolly bluegrass tune with lyrics so dark that even Beck would be grudgingly impressed.

It’s virtually impossible not to like this album if you like music this side of the Mars Volta. So if you like your folk music with a smattering of Country and Western and some polished, left of centre lyricism, then Bright Eyes is a perfect fit. All bow down to the King of camp acoustic!

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