Orchestral indie pop full of choked gasping melodrama (to steal a phrase from Milk Cult). Sulky-voiced band mastermind Conor Oberst comes off as a bit self-indulgent (and the indie rock kids apparently indulge him right back - I mean read the promo sticker on the back there, jesus), but now and again he comes up with something catchy or incisive enough to justify the lengthy length of these songs.
If you like this, try "The Calendar Hung Itself" from their last record. Or something by Neutral Milk Hotel.
1.long, live, with cars going by
2.martial drums. FCC ("shitty" at 3:27 rem.)
3.draggy waltz, vaguely "Starting Over" - couple "fuck"s around 3:20 rem.
4.starts late - naked ballad with a catchy full-band end
5.depressive Beck with violins? the production is weird.
6.lively little shuffle
7.spare, dark, bitter, folky in an almost medieval way, gets heavy like Fairport Convention - "shit"
8.quiet song w/sweet backing vox from Azure Ray
9.record cracklings, slide guitar
10.acoustic and spiteful
12.tremulous waltz w/slide guitar and piano
13.live, long, swearing, with a Poguesy kind of drunken drive
Picks: 5, 7, 10, 13.
Believers, repeat after me: Conor Oberst is not the fucking savior of music. Skeptics, your line is: it's okay to believe *some* of the hype. This is certainly not a bad record, but it's distracted and doesn't hang together well, either song-to-song or within songs. The last record was a lot more self-assured and solid - this one sounds transitional and a bit uncertain. I'm curious to hear the next - will they have turned entirely into a sulkier Beck? Will Conor realize that the secret to genius is in learning to edit? Stay tuned!