There is always a problem with releasing two albums on one day. Of the two, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
is the trickier to digest- per the title , the sound is mostly created ore from heavy drum loops, metallic percussion, clicks, pops and buzzing synths, coupled with the distressed, cracked voice that appeals and dismays in equal measures. The sound-effect laden "Time Code" sets the scene for an album of clanking twists and turns, reaching fine apexes in "Arc Of Time" and the bouncy "Hit The Switch" that are less melodic and more ominous than their "Wide Awake" counterparts, but more rewarding, and this is probably the album the fans will prefer.
In this case, both as good as any previous album (and, given Conor Oberst's previous form, that's a high benchmark to compare with), but inevitably, as Bruce Springsteen has found, they will be forever compared with one another. Thankfully, there isn't a difference in quality between these two albums, more a difference in approach, which makes for equal, delightful brilliance. The domination of the US singles chart ("Take It Easy" at #2, and "Lua" at #1 simultaneously) suggests that both could be equal hits, and deservedly so. --Thom Allott