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Conor Oberst is a 22-year-old tortured soul who bleeds heartbreak and sweets emotion. With his Bright Eyes band, Conor creates works that are as close to music poetry as one will ever hear.
His voice is like an off centered painting, a shaky off key collage of poetic words that looks good despite it's appearance. Each song is a new forum for him to struggle with his own demons and tell tales of overheard misfortunes. Throughout each song it’s hard to tell where Oberst’s personal reality ends and his story telling begins. With this his fifth album as Bright Eyes, Oberst walks a fine line between lyrical genius and one depressed soul.
The music of Bright Eyes paints a picture of the emo kids hanging out with some of the good ’ol boys of country and getting along fine. Slide guitars, and country twang grace each song as if this union was meant to be. Choirs of drunken angels sing over strings and horns while Conor strums his acoustic guitar with passion and rage. The production is crisper than in the past and sometimes these moving orchestral melodies and bright arrangements overshadow Conor's vocal rants.
There is a lot to take in on *“Lifted or The Story Is In The Soil Keep Your Ear To The Ground” *each song is like a family reunion of sorts. Every song could be about someone you know, and just like family reunions its great to catch up but soon everyone over stays their welcome. Yet, there are some guests whose stories you wouldn’t mind having told over and over. Drums pound like gunshots in the battle hymn “Don’t Know When But A Day Is Gonna Come” as a tale of love, death, war, and friendship is carried on the wings of soaring strings. “Waste Of Paint” sees Conor using his word as a brush painting a picture of people he may or may not have encountered. As the paint dries Oberst slowly chips away at his own soul claiming that he is a “waste of paint, space and life”.
With ‘Lifted', his best work yet, Conor and the cast of Bright Eyes have created a world taking tragedy and making it pageantry. It's hard to digest in one sitting but deserves respect for the messages it's trying to get across. Oberst undoubtedly possesses a rare and raw talent, flexing his vocal muscles as if he was trying to intimidate as well as impress.
Many consider him to be the front-runner of a generation looking for its Bob Dylan. He has a tendency to be long-winded, and his messages may come off as pretentious, but as long as this conductor is still suffering his choir of drunken angels will sing.
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