Bright Eyes: "Cassadaga"
Producer: Mike Mogis
Saddle Creek
Release Date: April 10

"Cassadaga," the sixth proper full-length from Conor Oberst under the Bright Eyes moniker, is-at its core-a road album. The travels the indie superstar undertakes on these 13 country-hued tunes are chronicled in his most oblique songwriting territory to date. Cities and states are name-checked, but the imagery is more dream-like. Religion and mysticism are hinted at in "Hot Knives," where a multiguitar punch is softened by a lovely backing choir, and the violin-spiked "Four Winds." The pedal steel-livened "I Must Belong Somewhere" spells out Oberst's quest for contentment, and the orchestral flourishes of "Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)" flirt with clarity, mirroring a lyrical landscape that abstractly alludes to fame, war and capitalism. It's a pleasant enough, if uneven work. Indeed, "Cassadaga" takes a relatively subtle approach with its musical adornments, resulting in a surprisingly quiet, inward-looking album. --Todd Martens