We’ll also have a scavenger hunt for a wicked cool The People’s Key autographed vinyl LP — that’s right, something Conor Oberst held in his own flesh-and-blood hands. We’ll take a picture of the LP “hidden” at the store and post it online; the first person to come to the store and find the LP gets to take it home.
And holy cow, this one is getting some great press. Here’s a snippet of a review from NPR, which is currently streaming the entire album and gushing that it’s the “best record” Conor’s ever put out:
I won’t mince words: This is the best record Bright Eyes has ever made. In fact, it’s the best record the band’s frontman, Conor Oberst, has ever been a part of. Publicists like to say as much any time an artist releases a new album, but in this case, it’s actually true. The People’s Key is a career-defining work of art.
Diehard fans might find it hard to believe that Bright Eyes could produce anything better than 2005’s simultaneously released I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. But in retrospect, those albums feel less developed than The People’s Key. In earlier recordings such as Fevers and Mirrors and Lifted…, Oberst sounds like a wide-eyed kid who’s still figuring things out. On the new record, he’s older and wiser and more sure of himself. His voice is stronger, the sonic palette is richer and the poetry is more compelling.
The People’s Key starts off as a largely experimental and conceptual record, opening with a strange but fascinating commentary on the expanding universe, time travel, UFOs and the origins of life. “[The aliens] walked like a man but had reptilian features. They had snake-like eyes, a tail and scales. They made slaves of the people. And where they landed in is what The Bible calls the Garden of Eden.” The voice belongs to Denny Brewer, guitarist for the band Refried Icecream and a friend of Oberst’s with some curious views of life on earth.
But this isn’t an overly affected art-rock album that takes itself too seriously. And The People’s Key is Bright Eyes’ most infectious record to date, with captivating melodies and rhythms.