Bright Eyes – The People’s Key


Artist

Album

The People's Key

Label

Saddle Creek

Year

2011

For Fans Of

Death Cab For Cutie, Brand New

Summary

Bright Eyes finally become bright.

Rating

75 / 100

Conor Oberst is a weird guy, or so he wants us to believe, and he has continued this trend on Bright Eyes seventh studio album, ‘The People’s Key.’ Take for example the three minutes of ramblings that open the record on ‘Firewall‘, before eventually kicking in to a slow paced guitar line and chanting melodies, that includes a swirling string section and finishes just over the seven minute mark.

Oberst had lead fans to believe that Bright Eyes was pretty much finished before throwing in a curve ball and releasing a new record, which is easily more diverse than anything the band have produced before. ‘Shell Games‘ begins with the Oberst channeling the Bob Dylan comparisons he has been slapped with over the years before jumping into a bouncy synth drenched pop number. The electronic feel is persistent throughout the album, various keyboards and synths rule the limelight with the majority of the sounds being positively toned, quite uncharacteristic of a Bright Eyes album.

The question is, will fans like the happy version of Oberst? Granted there are plenty of throwbacks to older Bright Eyes moments, like one of the stand outs, the electo beat driven Approximate Sunlight, but will this be enough to please the die hards? Hopefully, comparisons to the past are forgotten and this record is seen for what it is, which is really very good. The mix and match of musical styles is handled with care and cut to perfection, seamlessly handling the changes suggesting that a lot of careful planning went into this record.

The dirty guitar tones of ‘Haile Selassie‘ provide strength in what seems like a modern day version of the types of songs sailors would sing in Jerry Lewis movies when mopping the deck, a weird example but listen to it and you will understand. The warbles in Oberst‘s voice are perfectly matched to the gentle strumming of ‘Beginner’s Mind, another classic sounding Bright Eyes track that leads into the beautiful piano ballad, ‘Ladder Song‘.

Conclusion

Bright Eyes have changed, but in doing so have become a little more brilliant, with the happier Oberst more willing to experiment and take risks that have in this case, paid off.

Tracklisting

01 Firewall
02 Shell Games
03 Jejune Stars
04 Approximate Sunlight
05 Haile Selassie
06 A Machine Spiritual (In The People’s Key)
07 Triple Spiral
08 Beginner’s Mind
09 Ladder Song
10 One For You, One For Me

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