Conor Oberst by Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band
Released: Aug 2008
Label: Merge Records
With Oberst dropping his Bright Eyes handle and heading to a studio in a Mexican city famed for UFO sightings to record this album, things seemed poised for the deep end. But aside from the 49-second conch solo of "Valle Mistico," he stays with a relatively unadorned set of songwriter-driven rock in the mode of Cassadaga. Sturdy Americana rockers like "Danny Callahan" and "Souled Out!!!" owe stylistic debts to Wilco, though the crystalline simplicity of the ballads -- especially the elegant closer "Milk Thistle" -- bear the heartrending confessions he's best known for.
Nate Cavalieri
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