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One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels (Remastered)

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Album Review

Much like Home, Vol. 4, Conor Oberst's collaboration with Spoon's Britt Daniel, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels is a meeting of the minds between Oberst and his friends Neva Dinova. That band's singer/songwriter, Jake Bellows, and Oberst got together in fall 2003 to collaborate on some songs, and though the results aren't quite as accomplished as either band's work individually, the six songs here are pretty and entertaining enough to please both Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova fans. Though the bands have pooled their resources, Oberst's and Bellows' identities still shine through on their respective tracks. Bellows' rounded vocals sound even better in the context of the EP's relaxed, between-friends atmosphere: the dreamy, slightly twangy "Tripped," "Poison," and "Get Back" have a pleasantly broken-in sound that recalls not only Neva Dinova's own work, but a slightly edgier take on Ron Sexsmith's sound as well. Likewise, the Bright Eyes tracks don't stray too far from the lusher sound Oberst went for on Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground. "Black Comedy" is another piece of the bordering-on-melodramatic pop in which Oberst specializes; "I'll Be Your Friend" adds some over the top sax to a typically bouncy, lilting song that reflects the lighter side of Bright Eyes; and "Spring Cleaning" ends the EP on a simple, and simply pretty, acoustic note. More focused and thoughtful than many collaborations between musicians who are also friends, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels is hopefully the start of a beautiful musical friendship between Oberst and Bellows. [The 2010 reissue includes three previously unreleased tracks, "I'll Be Your Friend," "Get Back" and "Spring Cleaning."]


Formed: 15 February 1980 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

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

Although many musicians joined the band's rotating lineup, Bright Eyes was 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 "the...
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