bright eyes - cassadaga

2007's Cassadaga is a folk album by the now-defunct unit Bright Eyes, whom I didn't even know EXISTED until recently, when they were reccomended to me by fellow neocitizen Cubertown. I must thank her for that, because I was quite pleasantly surprised by the album's contents. The instrumentation is a sort of cross between Country and Orchestral music, creating a natural sound unembellished by blatant technological tomfoolery. It might be the album cover talking here, but the sound gives off a bit of a nautical vibe, which inspires my nostalgic memories of my cousins' old beach house by the shore.

Now, admittedly, I'm not the best at reading and interpeting lyrics-- Believe me, I try my hardest. The lyrics I am able to understand, however, speak wistfully of disillusionment; dissilusionment of oneself, dissilusionment of one's surroundings, and, briefly yet notably, dissilusionment for the music industry (as showcased in "Soul Singer in a Session Band"). The title "Cassadaga" refers to a Florida village inherited by mystics and mediums, and these are referenced multiple times throughout the album's duration, which I feel intertwines nicely with the orchestrated, organic sound of the tracks.

Unfortunately, the album is marred some by a few unmemorable tracks; I found myself struggling to recall the tracks "Classic Cars" and "No One Would Riot for Less", which I feel were more generic than their more forceful neighbors on the tracklist. The album takes on a more tribal, subdued sound during the late middle, which is quite fine, save for the interruption by the disorienting "Coat Check Dream Song". Even more confounding is the opener, "Clairaudients", which, quite frankly, gives me the willies. Finally, the unremarkable "Lime Tree" makes for a somewhat unsatisfying ending, especially after the passionate, fast-paced ballad "I Must Belong Somewhere".

All in all, though, in a world where the music scene is dominated by artificial synths and vulgar, heavily autotuned lyrics, being presented an album like this felt like a breath of fresh air. The insruments speak for themselves, and the singer speaks from the heart, which is an ideal the whole music industry seems to have forgotten, sadly. Mad respect, Cube.

Highlights: If the Brakeman Turns My Way, Soul Singer in a Session Band, I Must Belong Somewhere

With this album may I reccomend: New England Original Recipe Salt Water Taffy