Four Winds Maxi, Single, EP
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|1. Four Winds|
|2. Reinvent the Wheel|
|3. Smoke Without Fire|
|4. Stray Dog Freedom|
|5. Cartoon Blues|
|6. Tourist Trap|
US only release! This single includes five exclusive b-sides. Retaining the simmering glow of its predecessors, ("Digital Ash In A Digital Urn" and "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"), "Four Winds" is full of the magic that brought Bright Eyes to international attention. Carefully played, deftly poetic, and quietly enchanting, it has a wandering country charm and all of the storytelling seductiveness of earlier work. Look for the new full-length, "Cassadaga" on April 10th.
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"Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe/There's people always dying trying to keep them alive," Oberst sings in the title song, tearing through a dour song over a rootsy fiddle and guitar, Mexican girl murals, long shadows, the US's existance, and crumbling society.
It's followed up by the strings and alt-rock of "Reinvent the Wheel," and the quietly folksy "Smoke Without Fire." But then it's off to rock'n'roll-land, with the sizzling slow-burn riffs of "Stray Dog Freedom," distorted country-rock of "Cartoon Blues." And he finally finishes it off with a sort of ghostly folk song, full of harmonica and tapping feet. It sounds like a ghost town's theme song.
Conor Oberst always seems to be diddling around with new sounds -- the last two Bright Eyes albums were basically in two entirely different styles. And "Four Winds" shows us a more uptempo, country-inflected side of the band, without losing the doom'n'gloom sociopolitical lyrics.
The music is pretty straightforward -- lots of acoustic guitar, some strings that can shimmer or twang, and the occasional bit of harmonica. And some rapid-clashing piano in music-hall style. And he diddles around with distortion that twists an otherwise ordinary song into a bizarroworld pop tune, with a "baby" voice echoing his.
Despite the upbeat note of most of the music, Oberst always sounds on the verge of tears. No wonder, since his songs predict America's collapse, mocks those who call him a poser, contemplates drugs and "something changing the world/like a new constitution/a thief I would have to pursue/at all times/at all costs/the truth!"
Bright Eyes has a new album coming out soon, and if this "Four Winds" EP is a representative sampling of what's ahead, it's going to be a good one. Different, but enjoyable.
By sampling only the tip of what Cassadag awill be, Four winds EP gives us a new respire and new reasons to believe Bright Eyes cannot and will not be tied down to allegories of "the new this" or "the young that" that its lead singer received two years ago.
Opening track Four winds is a more upbeat song if we compared it to anything included in I'm awake it's morning", while 'Smoke without fire". duet with M. Ward takes us back to the times when he was relatively unknown and his ballads sounded like a cry more than a song/ 'Stray dog freedom" explores more the sound of southern rock with louder guitars and a more proper verse-chous-verse structure. Closing track "tourist trap" proves to be the real gem, like in most of his previous EPs.
Although a tease for those of us waiting for the complete album, this EP is worth every penny. Get it, enjoy it, and find out why Bright Eyes music makes the fans rave and passionately love them.
There are 5 non-album tracks on the single. All of them bloody brilliant. The things Conor throws away would make a Dylan out of Robin Thicke!
"Reinvent The Wheel" is among the finest songs Oberst has ever written. Lines like..."the TV sets will tell us when someone reinvents the wheel / till then I'll have a million conversations about s___ that isn't real' ...cut to the bone atop a bed of bouncy pop guitars, Springstonian harmonicas & Opry strings.
A collaboration with M. Ward on "Smoke Without Fire" is dark and brooding.
I was among the few who preferred "Digital Ash" over "Wide Awake". One reason was the line..."my stray dog freedom / let's have a nice clean cut / like a bag we buy and divvy up". Here he offers up "Stray Dog Freedom" in a whole other context. With a sublime guitar lick that is rooted in mid '70's AM rock, Conors' dog is a Cerberus beast that faintly resembles the smoldering remains of the "American Dream". Again, it's among his best work ever.
As is "Cartoon Blues", proving for the umpteenth time that there is nothing this kid cannot do.
The "Four Winds" disc is beyond a shadow of a doubt the finest CD single I have ever heard.
I can't wait for this album!
The use of the steel guitar and mandolins and kinda twangy stuff might turn some people off but I thought it was tastefully done. Think of the Wide awake album and replace the blues influence with country/bluegrass influence.