Published Dec 17, 2010Though fans rejoiced at the announcement of Conor Oberst returning to his Bright Eyes roots, the musician's new tunes might come as a bit of a surprise. While the project's new album The People's Key brings the folk-minded rock outfit back after a three-year absence, Oberst isn't necessarily going back to his old sound. An interview with Billboard has the singer admitting that Bright Eyes has changed.
"I wanted to make a record that was modern-sounding and steer clear of some of my tendencies, melodically," Oberst told Billboard. "We're over the Americana, rootsy, whatever that sound is. People say country, but I never thought were very country at all. But whatever that element is or that aesthetic is, I guess it's worn a little thin for me these days. So we very much wanted it to be rocking and, for lack of a better term, contemporary, or modern."
While heartfelt piano ballad "Coyote Song," a tune Oberst unveiled a couple of months ago, seemingly fit into the Bright Eyes' aesthetic, The People's Key might not feature those same folksy tendencies. The core trio of Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott currently have a hankering for cranked amps.
"We're going to kind of avoid the acoustic instruments," he says. "There's going to be two pretty deep keyboard rigs. We still want to play a lot of old songs, but we're going to rely more on nice, super hi-fi keyboard samples instead of hauling a strong quartet around or something like that. It should be good."
Though many fans might lament the loss of Americana-inflected tunes, Oberst maintains that he's just doing what comes to him naturally.
"It seems like everything I do musically I tend to lose a few fans and gain a few fans, and it all kind of evens out," he admitted. "It's never for shock value or wanting to alienate the audience in some way. We don't try to do anything other than follow our interests, which are obviously a moving target."
As previously reported, The People's Key comes out February 15 via Saddle Creek.