Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
out May 5th
Fans of Bright Eyes will find that they might not necessarily like Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. More specifically, they might find themselves highly disappointed in Outer South.For starters, seven of the album tracks aren’t even sung by Oberst.Not to mention that six out of those seven aren’t even written by him.But, those who were never quite fond of Bright Eyes might find something enjoyable with his latest endeavor.
Opening track, “Slowly (Oh So Slowly),” is a catchy down south rock jam that gets you somewhat interested, but not much more than that.“Dementia, you better treat me good,” sings Oberst, while fans of Conor hope for the same thing from him and the album, but most likely to disappointment.Lyrically, it’s still very much Conor Oberst (I mean this in a positive way).And I’m sure that’s become a standard everyone expects Oberst to meet, and he usually does.
Admittedly, I feel it almost unfair to judge this particular album based on his previous work considering the fact that he’s no longer the prominent lead he always was in Bright Eyes.Still, it’s not The Mystic Valley Band featuring Conor Oberst so one can’t help but hope for more.
I also probably shouldn’t knock it to The Mystic Valley Band because it’s not that they’re not talented.In fact, I really dig “Big Black Nothing”—one of the non-Oberst tracks.There are a lot of neat backup vocals, piano melodies & hand claps throughout the song. The following track, on the other hand, could easily be scrapped.I find the vocals and synth in “Air Mattress” to be rather annoying.
There are a couple of songs reminiscent of Cassadaga , which I found to be a far better album including “Ten Women” and “White Shows.”The latter of which is typical Oberst: bare acoustic guitar, quavering vocals & soulful lyrics.Clearly, I’m more a fan of Bright Eyes than Oberst’s solo work.But all in all it seems like Oberst has shed some of his skin and started to have a little more fun.He’s begun separating himself from the angst ridden Bright Eyes to a more mature and, dare I say, fun loving, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.The consequence: old fans might be disappointed.But perhaps over time this will grow on you too.
To enter to win a copy of Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band'Outer Souths , leave a comment with your thoughts on the band, the tracks you’ve just sampled, or (if you’ve listened to it) the album. Make sure you leave your name/email address in the provided fields! Entries will be accepted until May 28th