Conor Oberst, even in his meekest, quietest, most sombre of moments has been able to exude a degree of passion that is at times breathtaking – transcending the form of song writing itself and penetrating deep into the social and political consciousness, while all the while stabbing deep at ones own heart and fragility, creating a seamless co-existence of beauty and anguish. Understandably, this intensity and foray into genius is not something that can be controlled, contained or, ultimately, become consistent. ‘The People’s Key’, then, feels like a middle ground between a watered down ‘Digital Ash…’ and an attenuated ‘Lifted Or…’. It’s a welcome departure and undeniable advancement from the recent Mystic Valley band LP, but is ultimately a scattered glimpse into what Bright Eyes are capable of, rather than an immersion in their undeniable talents.

By Daniel Dylan Wray

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