Conor Oberst - 'Salutations'

8/10

When this new album was first announced, we were under the impression that it would be an extended edition to last year's full-length 'Ruminations'. Originally the tracklisting suggested that all ten songs from the previous work would be added onto the end of the seven produced for this album, creating a seventeen-track juggernaut of a release. In fact, the tracklist of songs remains the same but have been jumbled up in order to improve the flow of the record, giving us a wild different experience than what we went through before.

But rather than the piano, which provided the main focus of 'Ruminations', 'Salutations' sees Conor opt for his more reliable guitar to perform these songs, adding more production and a backing band throughout. And although the majority of this release is largely the same as the one that came before, the direction seems far more uplifting and more in keeping with the Bright Eyes sound that made him such a success in the first place.

It seems that 'Salutations' is more of an experiment in intentions than anything else. 'Ruminations', with its brooding lyrics and stripped-back sound, seems a world away from the style of this release. In effect, Oberst has managed to transforms the songs of one of his bleakest albums into a largely positive record. An intention that surely only he could pull off.

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