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There Is No Beginning to the Story - EP

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Album Review

Conor Oberst, the singer/songwriter behind Bright Eyes, bills himself modestly as "guitars, Rhodes, piano, voice" on this 2002 five-song EP featuring nearly two dozen vocalists and instrumentalists. Above the din of Elephant 6-like orchestration, something that has escalated since his work with Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal, there is his fragile, crackling voice full of laments for lost love in the Nebraska night. And as his label, Saddle Creek, has seen prosperity from mates the Faint, real money was well spent on tighter, professional recording. The opening "From a Balance Beam," and "Loose Leaves" pick up the pop pace, the latter aligning with the Strokes' style by distorting Oberst's chat-sing while crunchy keyboards bounce along. On "Messenger Bird's Song," his cinematic narrative is complimented by banjo. The imploring turns to collegiate rambles on "We Are Free Men," where his sneer of "Anything to entertain yourself" sounds like a reluctant Jarvis Cocker. Oberst has become somewhat of a heartland torch singer, and this EP hints at the busted glam of what's to come.


Formed: 1995 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although many musicians have joined the band's rotating lineup, Bright Eyes is primarily the songwriting vehicle of Conor Oberst, a quivery-voiced Nebraska native who first attracted attention in 1994 -- when he was only 14 years old -- as the singer and guitarist for Commander Venus. Oberst proved to be a prolific musician, joining multiple bands (including Commander Venus, the Magentas, Park Ave., and Desaparecidos) while also co-founding Saddle Creek, an influential label that helped broadcast...
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There Is No Beginning to the Story - EP, Bright Eyes
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