Two years after pushing the mainstream boundaries with his 2005 double-release, Conor Oberst and friends return with the ninth Bright Eyes full-length. ‘Cassadaga’ has arrived, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
After wetting our appetites with the frankly superb ballad ‘Four Winds’, Bright Eyes finally delivers ‘Cassadaga’ to us, and it’s almost flawless. The first thing you’re likely to notice if you are already a Bright Eyes fan is that the trembling voice and emo-esque (sometimes over-dramatic) theatrics are practically gone, Oberst has gone and grown up on us, and this album is all the better for it.
With his ninth LP in ten years, already Oberst has provided enough proof that he’s an outstanding writer, and ‘Cassadaga’ is no different. By branching out to country-based pop, he’s given himself more space to experiment with new ideas, both musically and lyrically. He’s still meaningful and self-reflective, but it seems more well-rounded, making this album, arguably, his most accessible album to date. The lyrics are ultimately outstanding and Oberst has the ability to make you at peace with the world and yet disturbed at its inner workings all in the same hour.
There’s hardly any filler, which makes a highly addictive piece of work. Though, there is some filler ‘Classic Cars’ and ‘Lime Tree’ could have possibly been left out, making the album more succinct, but the great point is that the misses are still much, much better than any of the singer/songwriter’s bothering the charts at the moment. ‘Four Winds’; ‘If The Brakeman Turns My Way’; ‘Coat Check Dream Song’ are all brilliant. ‘Make A Plan To Love Me’ is truthfully uplifting, and ‘No One Would Riot For Less’ is an absolute masterpiece and quite possibly the best song on the album, starting off as an understated acoustic track before blooming into a heartbreaking finale.
Oberst is a storyteller at heart; he creates characters within detailed stories, and whilst you sometimes aren’t sure where Oberst’s going, it doesn’t matter, because it’s the journey that’s so damn exciting. Get this album, and get ready for a brilliant journey.