Conor Oberst Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst Conor Oberst
With his roots as the nervous, oversensitive man/boy, Conor Oberst could have kept to basements and bedrooms and carved a recording empire from the inside out. But eventually the outsider went outside and the world was ready to hug him, it seemed. This eponymous album expands on Oberst's nouveau boho approach to songwriting that began in earnest on Bright Eyes' I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. For this session he grabbed up friends and faithful who'd collaborated on Cassadaga and headed south to Tepoztlán, a wiggy Mexican centre for mysticism and UFO sightings. The results are nicely relaxed, yielding a few gems like the Elliott Smith-haunted "Lenders in the Temple" and "I Don't Want to Die (In The Hospital)," with a honky-tonking Nate Walcott doing his best Garth Hudson on piano. Oberst's fatalist lyricism is still in full effect on closer "Milk Thistle." But in the almost-but-not-quite-satisfied aftermath of listening to Conor Oberst, it remains unclear whether we think he's the new Dylan or if he does. (Merge)