For those looking for Bright Eyes to move back to its roots, a combination of pop and experimental folk, their answer has come with the band’s new release “The People’s Key.”
The last two albums from the band have been extraordinarily folksy and mellow, but this record goes back to the experimental sound fans heard on albums, such as “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn,” “Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground” and “Fevers and Mirrors.”
The album opens with a story about time and aliens, similar to how “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning,” opened with a spoken story. “Firewall,” the song that follows, is one of the best on the album.
Throughout the record, frontman Conor Oberst’s voice is stronger and more confident than previous albums. Lyrically, the album falls in line with the band’s other records, with themes about societal, personal and relationship issues.
The music is at times upbeat and fast-paced, playing more into the band’s poppier side on tracks like “Jejune Stars” and “Triple Spiral.” Other times, the group is more mellow and sad in tracks such as “Beginner’s Mind” and “Ladder Song.”
While most of the music on this album seems to have moved away from the folksy-country sound of albums past, there are still hints of it intertwined in the music, like in “A Machine Spiritual (In the People’s Key).”
Overall this album will please both fans who have listened to the band since the beginning and those who have only picked up their last two records. It’s a culmination of everything the band has ever done, in the best possible way.