UK limited edition digipak pressing of the highly anticipated 2007 release from this much-loved U.S. indie act led by Conor Oberst. This very limited edition comes with a decoder to view the hidden artwork on the cover,! Normally, the art looks just like a grey mess but with the help of this magic decoder, the artwork will be revealed!! Bright Eyes spent much of 2006 in the studio in Lincoln, Portland, Los Angeles, New York and Omaha working on new material which has become their fifth studio album, the band's most confident work so far. Cassadaga is an album so full of soaring strings and female harmonies that it feels almost buoyant in comparison to previous releases. While many latched onto the smattering of political commentary in 2005's I'm Wide Awake..., Cassadaga is less blunt in its depiction of youthful exasperation in the Bush era. References to Hurricane Katrina, holy wars and polar ice-caps may crop up, but they're buried deep amongst the ruminations on life, love, history, death and the afterlife. Oberst, the fumbling guitarist whose impassioned prose tumbles out under stark stage spotlights, is still recognizable in every track, but the songs are rich with elaborate production, cinema-sized orchestration and, at times, sprawling, almost Psychedelic, atmospherics. Polydor.
On their sixth and most straightforwardly clean album, Nebraska's Bright Eyes once again integrate a revolving cast of players to the mix, including Portland tunesmith M. Ward and alt-country queen Gillian Welch. But the band remains at the helm of forever-wunderkind Conor Oberst, and the fruitful songwriter has one-upped 2005's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
with a proficient and accessible ensemble of expansive pop orchestrations and ornate folk songs that chronicle his traverses across the American panorama. Oberst's voice quakes and wanders through South Dakota lore and Sunshine State chicanery, always the perfect vehicle for his threadbare lyrics. "Take the fruit from the tree/Break the skin with your teeth/Is it bitter or sweet/All depends on your timing," he forewarns in "Cleanse Song," a psychedelic merry-go-round of a soundtrack that joins the Scottish-tinged "Soul Singer in a Session Band" and singalong single "Four Winds" as Cassadaga
's finest. The 13-song-record is certain to open more doors for a band whose recognition has soared with every release since Oberst was just 14. --Scott Holter