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Reborn on a circuit board...,
This review is from: Digital Ash In A Digital Urn (Audio CD)
With the previous Bright Eyes Album (Lifted) Conor Oberst appeared to throw absolutely everything in his canon at the record. He hardly draws breath between lyrics from start to finish and the same can be said for the styles, melodies and instrumentation used. For these two new albums it seems he looked at the two singles from Lifted and made two albums in the vain of each of these songs. `Bowl of Oranges' the forbearer of `I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning' and `Lover I Don't Have to Love' inspiring this album; `Digital Ash In A Digital Urn'.
On first listen, this album is certainly the more opaque of the two, the confusing arrangements, the syncopated rhythms and part crystal-clear, part mystifying, lyrics are difficult to digest immediately. However with repeated listens the picture, the message and the themes come slowly into focus and what's revealed is a beautiful picture of that grotesque beast - death, in its various forms.
The songs themselves are relatively upbeat despite the nature of the subject matter, time, death, a lack of afterlife, loss of innocence, drug overdoses, the impossibility of perfection in this strange world. The lyrics on display here are fantastic and there's much more to feast on in terms of imagery and intellect than the IWAIM album. His delivery is perfect, part venomous, part loving, but always sincere.
The most instantly accessible songs are Take it Easy, Ship in a Bottle and Easy/Lucky/Free, but eventually you'll find yourself involved with them all Arc of Time and Hit the Switch being my favourites. The weakest song for me personally is `Theme from Pinata' but I think that's just a matter of taste.
This album also has a common sound, something its detractors will use against it, but if, like me, you're a fan of The Cure's Disintegration, (or Bloodflowers) you'll know this can serve to be a huge plus.
There is also longevity in this album because of the complexity of the arrangements and the different interpretations of the lyrics (as well as the over-all strength of the song-writing) that means you'll still be listening for years to come. In fact, I have to admit, this album has been in my car's multi changer since it was released over 18 months ago along with Bonnie `Prince' Billy's `Summer in the Southeast' and I've listened to both pretty much every day since!
If you're a fan of Bright Eyes earlier albums and are willing to go on a different musical journey with the poet, reminiscent of the songs `Lover I Don't Have to Love', `Bad Blood', `I Will be Grateful for this Day' and `Blue Angels Air Show' then buy this fantastic album.