Music Review – Bright Eyes, Cassadaga
Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst left his “pine on the west coast” to explore the less sentimental terrain of the greater United States for the bands’ newest studio album, Cassadaga, released April 10th. The title is an obscure homage to a community of psychics in central Florida, visited by those who wish to “commune with the dead.” How ethereal. The town is conjured up in the album’s first single, “Four Winds,” where Oberst sets “off to old Dakota where genocide sleeps/in the Black Hills, the Badlands, the calloused East/I buried my ballast, I made my peace.” This singer/songwriter is an eternal bleeding heart, though, from the sound of things, it appears he’s poured serious salt on his wounds. The results are invigorating. The song “Hot Knives” is vivid and energetic, reminiscent of a young Oberst’s folksy lyrics, punctuating the Bright Eyes symphony. “Make A Plan To Love Me” is a playful and malleable love song, complete with female backup singers. This indie album stands to be one the most elaborately produced with theatersized orchestration and a cosmic, manifest-destiny reach. Though Oberst’s presence is revered in every track, trumpet and piano player Nate Walcott, a Bright Eyes participant since 2003 and now a permanent fixture, provides the theatrical string arrangements responsible for Cassadaga’s cohesive boom.
First published in movmnt magazine “Got Fame?” Fall 2007 issue