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|1. Time Code|
|2. Gold Mine Gutted|
|3. Arc Of Time (time Code)|
|4. Down In A Rabbit Hole|
|5. Take It Easy (love Nothing)|
|6. Hit The Switch|
|7. I Believe In Symmetry|
|8. Devil In The Details|
|9. Ship In A Bottle|
|10. Light Pollution|
|11. Theme To Pinata|
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
The answer- at least in parts- is a resounding yes. The country warmth may be gone, but- like all Oberst's work under various guises- his sharp wordplay and cracked voice elevate this further from typical 'new Bob Dylan' fare. While the music may be experimental, this is no Kid A-style reinvention. For a start, it actually has tunes, and some of Digital Ash... resembles finely-crafted pop music, such as the indie-with-beats number Hit The Switch, or US Number 2 single Take It Easy. While we could have done without the weird baby noises on the lacklustre Ship In A Bottle, the experimentation provides an interesting new method of conveying Oberst's nightmares and teenage worries, in the same way that previous side-project Desaparecidos coated his political angst in punk guitars and screaming.
This flawed-but-brilliant album's finest moments put a new spin on a tried-and-tested formula, like a good remix album (if such a thing exists). It's actually a lot more human than its computerised nature appears.Read more ›
It is unnecessary to delve too deeply into the much discussed differences between this and its sister album, "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning," (henceforth IWAIM) which fitted more securely into the alt-folk acoustic model that has created a loyal fan base for Bright Eyes.
In many ways, their is a strong continuity with his former work; highly nuanced rhythm and melody within a simple structure, lyrics that are abstract in a sense that they reveal ideas and feelings rather than disguise meaning and vocals that have the ability to express deep emotion but are cranked up sparingly so maintaining their integrity. These hallmarks of Oberst's work make this an album that will still appeal to his loyal fan base, (although of course he was smart enough to sweeten the pill with "IWAIM").
However, the use of drum machines, unsyncopated beats, and highly processed and synthetic sound effects, that mark a break from his previous work, give this album a more refined almost futuristic style that will appeal to people who find pared down acoustic musings a little too raw to digest.
While being an intelligent commercial move this is also a social service; singer-songwriters almost always have the most thought provoking lyrics and it is commendable that Oberst is bringing his brand to a generation succoured on electronica.
This has become a bit of a eulogy so to balance the books slightly; this will annoy die-hards but Oberst's voice can grate after continued listens (although not many artists can claim to avoid this).Read more ›
Though these tracks stand out to me as being of particular note they still blend into the album as a whole and create a cohessive sound through which the album flows.
Overall it may be a less accessible album than I'm Wide Awake... but it is an album that i believe everyone can find something in, it has that many different aspects. You might just have to listen to it a few times.
But you wont know unless you BUY IT.