Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kirk's Music Review - Bright Eyes

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By Kirk Bage

My first few days back in the multi-corporational arms of iTunes led me to Bright Eyes, whose double album release at New Year was not available on Napster. Of the two, I left the reportedly more raucous Digital Ashes In a Digital Urn for later and went straight to the acclaimed and somewhat mellower I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning - which included the single First Day Of My Life, a huge hit in the States. For the uninitiated, Bright Eyes is more or less twenty-something Connor Oberst and his acoustic guitar. An acquired taste at first, his deliberate use of less than polished acoustics, childishly simplistic melodies and knowingly pretentious spoken sections can jar. But anyone who listened to his 2002 release Lifted... Or, The Story Is In The Soil should know that to stick with him for a bit is to experience something of rare spirit and grace, ultimately tinted with optimism and a soul beyond his years. And this album lives up to that promise brilliantly. Perhaps not as many moments of angst as the aforementioned work, it nevertheless has all the elements of a late night conversation with a drunken folk singer present and correct: disillusionment, loss, redemption and a whole lot of heart, to say the least. Closer, perhaps, to Nick Drake than Bob Dylan, his beguiling rhymes and distracted reason appeal on many levels and leave you wanting to take another listen, just to be sure you understood what he might be getting at. I'm not saying he's my favourite artist - even of his genre - but he is compelling and unique; with the ability, at his best, to cut you to the bone with honesty and beauty. And there aren't enough of those people in the world. This will be my main listen for a week, probably, and then I'll be ready for the flip side. Click on title for website with some great live photos and full lyrics listings. Good stuff. 8/10

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