May 21, 2009

Conor Oberst hangs loose with bigger sound

Conor Oberst, the Dylanesque poetry-spewing mind behind Bright Eyes, has gotten some flack for loosening his belt and handing over some vocal and writing duties on his recent Mystic Valley Band collection, Outer South. That talk is bollocks. The band is a rollicking mess of youth, charm, and frustration unleashed by a swell of riffing guitars and flourishes of organ. It's the same recipe paved by the Band when they backed Dylan. Oberst and his merry band of pranksters certainly have not peaked anywhere close to those near-untouchable legends, but their growing catalogue of songs and comfort with experimentation may one day take them somewhere close. Like a poor man's Traveling Wilbury's, Oberst and his band trade vocals along with styles that make the record much more dynamic than the last Bright Eyes outing Cassadaga and much bigger than the Mystic Valley Band debut. Of the non-Oberst songs, my favorite is the simplistic and fun power-pop offering of "Air Mattress." You can hear Oberst singing background vocals. And it sounds like he's having a riot.

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band - "Air Mattress" (from Outer South)

Conor Oberst

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