Bright Eyes-The People’s Key

Once hailed as the next boy wonder and with a string of great early albums ‘Letting of the Happiness’, ‘Lifted’ and ‘Fevers & Mirrors’ Conor Oberst has delivered a somewhat patchy output of late. ‘The People’s Key’ is his first album since 2007s ‘Cassadaga’ and unfortunately it shares some of that albums poorer traits. Opening track ‘Firewall’ has several minutes of bizarre dialogue before the song itself kicks in, a trick that is repeated on this record. Lead single ‘Shell Games’ is the stand out track and one of the best he’s done for ages but elsewhere the album lacks the spark that made his early work, warts and all, so interesting. But where as his early ramshackle nature was endearing it now starts to grate a little and some of the songs feel like no more than sketches as apposed to finished work. For someone that started out showing so much promise it often feels like he is just going through motions. Has he lost it? Was the start of his career a fluke? I suppose only time will tell but on this evidence I’m not holding my breath.  

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