Collaborating with Conor Oberst must be both the Holy Grail for any alt. country artist and a poisoned chalice – the poignancy of Bright Eyes’ semi-cracking vocals and waltzing melodies shining a light on your very existence one second and showing up your meagre input the next. Jake Bellows of Neva Dinova and Oberst have been like-minded pals forever, which is how long this EP-come-LP has been in fruition (4 new Bright Eyes songs have bumped this re-release up to 10 tracks), and while it’s unfair to call the Bellows-fronted tracks mediocre or weightless there’s little escaping that it’s the sheep’s bleat of Oberst on tracks like the typically sympathy-seeking ‘Black Comedy’ and the anthemically regretful ‘Happy Accident’ that gives this record its frequent highlights.

By Stuart Stubbs

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