The last time Conor Oberst released an album he released, well, two. It was ironic, of a fashion, that it was the "less experimental" one, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning that actually garnered most attention. That's not to say that Digital Ash In A Digital Urn was a bad album but it was one that didn't really play to Oberst's strengths.
It is perhaps telling then that Cassadaga is more "Wide Awake" than "Digital Ash". And it no less the thrilling for that.
Sure there is nothing here that will convert the doubters, of which there are more than a few it has to be said, but neither is there anything that will put any doubts into the minds of those that believe in him.
Indeed, songs like Four Winds and If The Breakman Turns My Way are up there with the best things he's ever put on record. Make A Plan To Love Me maybe even better. It's Oberst at his most simple, its an unabashed and straightforward love song, but quickly transplants itself onto a higher plain with the minimum of fuss.
I've never quite got my head around the "new Bob Dylan" proclamations, although at his best Oberst can channel that communal spirit that serves Dylan so well, but there's little doubt in my mind that this is a fantastic album and better than Dylan's recent efforts by quite some way.
It's definitely up there in terms of albums of the year so far.