Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst continues to earn his reputation as our most respected young troubadour with almost frightening ease. For the past few years he's been tagged "rock's boy genius" by the music press. These albums are a soundly articulated slice of modern life rolled into two very different records, both bursting with all the heartfelt poetry for which Bright Eyes' records have earned their acclaim. Of course, the rough edges haven't gone away - the palpitation of a splintering note, the crack of a voice as it overextends, the clumsy thump of a misplaced thumb. It's all still there. But there's a glorious new level of depth, a maturation of texture, writing and delivery. His best work yet.
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