Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
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For the past decade and much of the one before it, Conor Oberst has crafted his songs and poetry under the Bright Eyes name. But with 2008's self-titled album under his own name and this year's renewal with the Mystic Valley Band, Oberst has found a new avenue for his depth-defying folk-rock. Outer South might just be his most collaborative effort yet — it's stocked with songs written by his bandmates and the flow here isn't simpy Oberst's wounded phrasing, but the wide expanses drawn out by the band. He and the band are all over the place — rolling down the avenues on the raucous opener "Slowly (Oh So Slowly)" and invoking the ghosts of surreal poetry on the weary, Silver Jews-like "Eagle On a Pole." Other big moments come with the dusty, electric folk rock of "To All the Lights In the Windows" or during the whirring, plaintive cry of the Macey Taylor-sung "Worldwide." A track like "White Shoes" pinpoints the strange, maybe-too-intimate intimacy Oberst is known for. About as much of a Conor Oberst record as the Rolling Thunder Revue was a Bob Dylan tour, this album is a group effort and wildly rewarding.
Mystic Valley Band=Obert's Crazy Horse
Mystic Valley Band is to Conor Oberst what Crazy Horse was to Neil Young. Both are superb songwriters that just need a rock band atmosphere sometimes. On the album, six songs are written by others than Oberst, and one Oberst penned song is sung by bassist Macey Taylor. I've heard a bunch of mixed reviews on this and how they just bring Oberst down. This just simply isn't the case. They might not be better songwriters than Oberst, but they contribute quality songs. Overall, they add a texture and quality the album. This isn't a Bright Eyes or Conor Oberst album, it's a Mystic Valley Band album. The three best songs are "To All the Lights In The Windows," "Nikorette," and "Helter Skelter-meets-Rockin in the Free World" "Roosevelt Room." All three are Oberst sung songs. "Big Black Nothing," "Air Mattress," "Eagle On A Pole," and "Worldwide" are some of the better songs written/sung by other members.
Sure, it's not Bright Eyes, but....
Every negative review this CD has gotten is complaining that this isn't Bright Eyes. I hate to break it to anyone, but Conor (for now at least) has moved in a slightly different direction, and you need to accept it. This album is GOOD, if you're listening with an open mind and not shutting it down just because it's not Bright Eyes. It's mixed with country, folk, and rock, and when looked at in that perspective this album is fantastic. The tracks from the other members on the band are pretty good too, I loooove Bloodline.
Great Folksy Americana Sound
It's great that there are bands such as this out there. They really make up for the Spears and others out there. When you listen to music like this, it's easy to get lost in it.... in its rhythm, beats, lyrics, and overall feel. Just close your eyes and let the music seep in.
Top Albums and Songs by Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
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