Review: Bright Eyes' Cassadaga

On their sixth, and arguably best album, Bright Eyes once again integrates an astounding cast of players, including the incomparable singer-songwriter M. Ward and alt-country empress Gillian Welch for the most straightforward and accessible album of the band's blossoming career.

The band remains under the watchful eye of child prodigy Conor Oberst, who lends his unmistakable warble to each track with uncanny ease and simplicity. Simply put, Cassadaga is a proficient and accessible ensemble of unrestrained rock arrangements and lavish and elaborate folk that chronicle the band’s trek across the American landscape.

Oberst's voice wanders through the countryside always the perfect vehicle for his spare but sprawling lyrics. He cautions in “Cleanse Song” to "Take the fruit from the tree/Break the skin with your teeth/Is it bitter or sweet/All depends on your timing," The band finally shows its willingness to take musical and sonic risks as evidences in the Scottish-tinged "Soul Singer in a Session Band" and its readiness to mature as in the take-no-prisoners single "Four Winds" which may still be Cassadaga's finest track. This record is certain to provide the band with a completely new audience thanks to its more simple and uncomplicated style while still pleasing longtime fans with its dedication to inventive instrumentation and thoughtful lyric. Cassadaga may serve as a seminal album for a band whose recognition has only grown as the band matures.

MP3: Bright Eyes - "Soul Singer in the Session Band" (live @ Bonnaroo '06)

1 comment:

MBD said...

Omission: Songstress extraordinairre Rachael Yamagata also appears on the album on several tracks. An impressive lineup to be sure.