Album Review: Bright Eyes' The People's Key
Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Sunday, March 20, 2011 18:03
After a brief hiatus, Conor Oberst's Indie/Folk band Bright Eyes has returned with their eighth effort, The People's Key, released February 15, the same day as Oberst's birthday.On The People's Key, Bright Eyes are joined by many guest musicians from various indie bands. These musicians include Andy LeMaster of Now It's Overhead, Matt Maginn of Cursive, Carla Azar of Autolux, along with many others, including Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds, who will be opening for Bright Eyes at their upcoming show at Foellinger Auditorium in Urbana on March 16.
This time around with The People's Key, Bright Eyes worked for a more rock-based sound. "We're over the Americana, rootsy, whatever that sound is." Oberst tells Billboard.com in an interview, "I guess it's worn a little thin for me these days. So we very much wanted it to be rocking and, for lack of a better term, contemporary, or modern." The end result is definitely rocking; it's full of distorted guitar riffs, reverbed vocals, and hard-hitting percussion. The album also contains a subtle electronic touch in some tracks, such as "Beginner's Mind."
The album is a collection of catchy pop-infused tracks. Perhaps the most addicting song is the high-energy "Triple Spiral." It features infectious vocal melodies behind alternative rock guitar riffs and a leg-bobbing drumbeat. Hidden in the background, a synthesizer chooses to occasionally rear its head to add a bit more depth. Beautiful backing vocals come out to complement Oberst's, adding a nice harmony and reinforcing the pop sound.
Fans expecting another album with a folk feel will be very disappointed. Songs such as the album's leadoff "Firewall" and the somber piano track "Ladder Song" are the closest Bright Eyes stayed to that old vibe on The People's Key. Instead, they've provided ten addictive indie pop songs crafted to get stuck in the listeners head. Check out Bright Eyes' web site at www.thisisbrighteyes.com or request their music on 88.7 The Wave, WPCD Champaign by calling 217-373-3790.