Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

BRIGHT EYES

The People's Key

2011-02-21

Bright Eyes is the brainchild of Conor Oberst, who along with Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott, are the central members of the band. It's the seventh go-round for this ensemble, despite Oberst's regular threats to "kill off" this band. "The People's Key" is a quasi-concept album, with Oberst seeking ultimate meaning in the outer reaches of the universe, Rastafarianism, various philosophies and a smattering of other questings. While that all might sound off-putting, anyone who knows a Bright Eyes record will tell you that somehow, he makes this all listenable and (mostly) interesting -- both as a whole and within the individual songs. The opener, "Firewall," begins with the rambling musings of an extra-terrestrial believer for the first two minutes and then segues into the song itself. "Jejune Stars," "Haile Selaisse," "Triple Spiral" and "Beginner's Mind" are the most up-tempo of the bunch, but every song delves into the Big Questions and the closer, "One for You, One for Me" is a fitting musical ending (and the very end brings back the guy in the opening number to chat away to the fade). It's all worth the trip. 02/11 MJVD R-Indie [FCC note on cut #2 -- "piss and vinegar"]

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