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Bright Eyes
Letting Off The Happiness
Saddle Creek (US)/Wichita Recordings (UK)/Clearspot (De)

Okay, it's actually 2 1/2 years since this album was released. But it's not until recently it's got a distributor in Norway (hats off, Tuba! !). Conor Oberst must be something of a genius wonder kid. Back in the mid-90s, at the age of 14 he fronted indieband Commander Venus (two albums: Do You Feel At Home?, 1995, and Uneventful Vacation, 1997). The band broke, and they started the label Saddle Creek. For 3 years Conor has been Bright Eyes. Recording 3 albums!

Bright Eyes create an extremely fascinating and strange world of music. His voice has got this intense feel, an his lyrics are somewhat dark and creepy, such as in Padraic My Dear which is about a younger brother drowning in the bathtub (a true story according to Fevers and Mirrors). His vocal and writing skills and creativity reminds me of several others. Think a mixture of Jeff Mangum and his Neutral Milk Hotel, a young (and desperate) Bowie (Ziggy era), a young (and desperate) Waterboy Mike Scott, and (briefly, just briefly) Grandaddy.

Letting Off The Happiness includes 10 songs, one of them, Tereza and Thomas, nearly 26 minutes (!) long, including a 15 minute noise ebow bass buzz part before a secret (?) track/part appears. Among my favourites are If Winter Ends, the jumpy rhythmic duet (with Neely Jenkins) Contrast And Compare (recorded on New Years Eve 1997, you can hear: 'No, it's 7, so it's 5 hours till 1998'), the up-tempo The City Has Sex (recorded in Athens, GA, including Jeremy Barnes from Neutral Milk Hotel on drums and perc), Pull My Hair and the divine Touch (also recorded in Athens, with J. Barnes). Besides Jeremy Barnes, Kevin Barnes (of Of Montreal) contributes, along with people from Cursive and Lullaby For The Working Class (both from the Saddle Creek label stable), plus others.

A touching album for the night time, and maybe not for this time of year. Maybe that's the reason why it was released in November...

The first B.E. album was called A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997. Right now there's a new record out: a split CD (4 songs each) with Son, Ambulance called Oh Holy Fools.

Distribution i Norway: Tuba!.

Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Bright Eyes articles/reviews: Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, Fevers And Mirrors, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, So What!, Oslo, 27.08.01.

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