Saddle Creek Records release a collection of Bright Eyes studio albums in a limited edition box set fittingly titled The Studio Albums 2000-2011.
Bright Eyes is largely the brainchild of Nebraskan song writer Conor Obesrt and his long time collaborator/producer/multi instrument playing friend Mike Mogis. Cataloguing all of the bands studio works, this box set features some of, in our opinion, the most underrated albums of their time. This long awaited box set catalogues Conor Obest’s song writing at its peak, beautifully put together on stunning coloured LPs with some lovely extras. It really hits the old cliché of being ‘a must for any fan’ which we hear far too much in press releases from labels trying to promote box sets like this, but it really is worth it!
‘Fevers and Mirrors’ and ‘Lifted...’ are two great examples of how to make beautifully crafted songs with darker subject matter like failed suicide attempts, and drug abuse. Both, are to some extent, reminiscent of the writing style of Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave, these songs aren’t afraid to lay out Oberst’s misery, or unafraid to be called depressing by some, because if songs are as good as these early works, they can’t be depressing at all!
The band's real mainstream breakthrough came with the 2005 release of two albums on the same day, ‘Digital Ash In A Digital Urn’ a slightly more experimental album with touches of Obersts early oddities, and what is seen by many as the bands high point ‘I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning’. An album that fits in with some of the best modern Americana, with a real love of country and is almost a more career driven album, itching to fulfil the critics who referred to Oberst as a modern day Dylan.
Cassadaga carries on prefectly from where ‘I’m Wide Awake...’ with country inspired tracks at the start of the album, such as the single ‘Four Winds’, but flows through bits of everything the band had done before. The track ‘No One Would Riot For Less’ feels like an end of the world, anti war piece that wouldn’t be out of place at the end of the ‘1984’ film, that no one else could’ve written.
The band's final album, ‘The Peoples Key’, feels in some ways like a fitting end to the collection in this box, for the most part its a band that is still at its high point, but in moments like the stunning ‘The Ladder Song’ you feel like you're right back with a ‘Fevers and Mirrors’ Conor. The beauty of all of these albums is how well Mogis can blend the ever changing collection of collaborating musicians that make up Bright Eyes with the bewitching vocals and lyrics from Oberst.