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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Bright Eyes
Fevers & Mirrors
Saddle Creek

Rating: 9.9/10 ?


October 1, 2004
The Matt Damons can have their Elliot Smith, but for the rest of us looking for the greatest singer/songwriter in America, I would like to introduce Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes. Some of you may already know of Bright Eyes from previous efforts, but the promise heard on Letting Off the Happiness and Every Day & Every Night only scratches the surface of a truly touching genius. Fevers & Mirrors is a magnum opus of brooding American pop music, its scope and effect unparalleled in my experience. If you haven't been mesmerized by this album yet you surely will.

From the opening slow, shallow, barbiturate overdose sound of "A Spindle, A Darkness, A Fever and A Necklace" through the final seconds of "A Song to Pass the Time," this album is laced with luminescence. From the folk/pop excellence of "A Scale, A Mirror and Those Indifferent Clocks" and "The Calendar Hung Itself," Oberst proves himself a formidably dexterous songwriter.

What puts Bright Eyes a long stride ahead of other like-minded outfits such as Matt Pond PA is Oberst's unique obsessive vocal style and his dark, agitated lyrics, sometimes undeniably resembling early work of Violent Femmes front man Gordon Gano. However, whereas Gano was dark with a comedic twist, Oberst's obsessions, dripping with a bitterness and generally contained rage, are tinged with a trenchant honesty that carries with it an ability to relate to everyone who has ever been a teenager, while oddly resonating with a certain type of maturity. From the clever reference to Cursive (each member of which plays on this record) in "Something Vague" to the bitter self realization ("as I sing and sing of awful things/the pleasure that my sadness brings") of "Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh" there is a genuinely rare tatting here similarly to Steinbeck's literary writing - brutally honest, almost cinematic wordplay without the stake of being overly artsy.

Released from the chains of a lo-fi bedroom sound into a nurturing studio environment courtesy of the Mogis brothers (Cursive, Vitreous Humor, et cetera) Fevers & Mirrors may easily become the Emergency & I of eclectic singer/songwriter folk-pop for the coming decade. Without the mock radio interview towards the end, this album would be flawless.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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