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Bright Eyes - Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground

  by Mark Rowland

published: 1 / 9 / 2002

Bright Eyes - Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
Label: Wichita
Format: CD


Compulsive and challenging fifth album from Bright Eyes, the folk/country project of the Desaparecidos, Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst may seem to be a new face to music, being the singer of young Omaha punk band the Desaparecidos, but in reality he's about as experienced an artist as someone twice his age, having started his recording career aged 14. Now 22, Oberst has now recorded his fifth album as Bright Eyes, his folk/ country project that is basically just him on his own, though he does hire musicians for each album. With this one, Oberst has hired an awful lot of musicians; five drummers, three choirs, and about 22 assorted vocalists and multi-instrumentalists. This does not mean this is a big band album, the songs vary in both style and simplicity. For a folk/country album, 'Lifted.' is quite a challenging listen. Take opening track 'The Big Picture', for example. It's over eight minutes long, and for most of it, a sample of a couple arguing in a car over how to get somewhere is played at the same time as the song, so that the song is pushed slightly in the background. Despite Oberst going out of his way to make the album awkward, the songs are actually very good folk songs, that can divided into those with bands behind them, like the sweeping string-led ' False Advertising' ; stripped down me-and-my guitar songs, like the excellent 'Waste of Paint', or combinations of the two ( the oddly named 'You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.'). In true traditional folk style, there are songs here about life-changing discoveries and fables based on past experiences (or, more likely, made up past experiences). As well as those traditions, however, Oberst often writes deeply personal songs of teenage angsty self pity and failed relationships, something that's becoming sort of a trade mark of his. Luckily, the self-loathing doesn't go so far as to be irritating, and just gives the music a more modern, emo-esque twist. There is also a considerable amount of punky energy in the album, mainly generated by the aforementioned lyrics and Oberst's singing voice, which ranges from a youthful warble to an At the Drive-in style yell. Desaparecidos fans should be into Bright Eyes, as both band's songs, if stripped down to their basic forms, are very similar. They've just been developed differently. One thing that is considerably different about the two bands is that while the Desaparecidos album is reasonably short and is very easy to get into, 'Lifted.' is about 73 minutes long, and because of this, it takes a bit more effort from the listener to really get into it. When you do get into it, however, you'll find it hard to stop listening.

Track Listing:-
1 The Big Picture
2 Method Acting
3 False Advertising
4 You Will
5 Lover I Don't Have To Love
6 Bowl Of Oranges
7 Don't You Know When But A Day
8 Nothing Gets Crossed Out
9 Make War
10 Waste Of Paint
11 From A Balance Beam
12 Laura Laurent
13 Lets Not Shit Ourselves

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Interview with Conor Oberst (2003)
Bright Eyes - Interview with Conor Oberst
At only 22, Conor Oberst is already being proclaimed by many as being a musical genius, and fronts both the Desparicodos and also his own solo project Bright Eyes. Julia Willis chats him about Bright Eyes latest 'Lifted or The Story is in the Soil'

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Noise Floor 1998-2005 (2006)
Oddly accessible collection of B sides and lost tracks from Bright Eyes, the project of Conor Oberst, whose ability to craft songs of heart-rending delicacy and razor sharp bitterness remains unmatched and unquestionable

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