Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bright Eyes - Four Winds (EP)

The six-track EP ‘Four Winds’ serves both as a taster for Bright Eyes’ spring 2007 full-length, ‘Cassadega’ (title track “Four Winds” is the album’s first single), and as a showcase for several new songs not to be found on the album proper. The previous pair of Bright Eyes albums were hit-or-miss stylistic experiments–the electronic explorations of ‘Digital Ash In A Digital Urn’ and the almost entirely acoustic ‘I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning’. But “Four Winds” is a strong return to the classic Bright Eyes sound: a modern updating of 1970s singer-songwriter pop in the tradition of Jackson Browne or Neil Young. This comparison would likely make many of leader Conor Oberst’s hipster followers shriek in horror, but it’s the truth, down to the country-rock fiddle hook. The remaining five tracks are in the same stylistic ballpark, with the particular highlight being “Smoke Without Fire,” a collaboration with avant-folk singer-songwriter and Old Weird Americanist M. Ward. Ben Kweller and Rachael Yamagata also guest.

1. Four Winds
2. Reinvent The Wheel
3. Smoke Without Fire
4. Stray Dog Freedom
5. Cartoon Blues
6. Tourist Trap

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