An Angle - We Can Breathe Under Alcohol (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

An Angle

We Can Breathe Under Alcohol (2005)


May 27, 2005

Drive-Thru Records


Bright Eyes frontman announces release of secretly recorded album

Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst has announced the immediate release of We Can Breathe Under Alcohol, an album secretly recorded around the time of I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash In A Digital Urn.

"I felt like with Morning I was a bit more folky than usual, and with Digital, well, around the same time I ended up recording Alcohol, which are more of my basic takes," the Omaha native muttered in between swigs from a pocket flask. "I felt like releasing three albums on one day was a bit excessive, so I kept this one under wraps for a while and figured I'd put it out later on in the year." The captivating, epic, swirling, magnificent full-length will set a new standard for indie rock and has already been hailed by Rolling Stone and Spin as "Oberst fully settling into his niche like Grade F meat into a Taco Bell flour tortilla" and "the new envy of every breathing singer/songwriter worldwide," respectively.

"I don't know. It just sounds like a Bright Eyes album to me, I guess," said Oberst when asked of the record. Oberst's modesty is a mere testament to his astounding ability to write amazing personal narratives of lost loves and loves that never were, fully entrancing and captivating the listener for every passing second with his gentle acoustic strokes and emotional twang, and this isn't to mention inciting the angst of both the left and right wings with tracks like the modestly horn-laden, strangely upbeat "Change The World," a scathing attack on the media, political-minded affiliations, AND his own surroundings with such lines as "No more FCC, or NBC, or CBS, or ABC, and no more NRA, or the CIA, or the fast food nation, or gas price inflations, no more indie scene, no more indie scene." Again, however, Oberst downplays the song by responding, "Yeah, that was sort of just another take on 'Let's Not Shit Ourselves.' I even recycle a few media channel mentions from that song, like ABC, NBC, and CBS. I guess I was just feeling lazy." "Recycled," however, is not a word that fits well in the same breath as Alcohol.

Good Life frontman Tim Kasher even guests on a few tracks to help with the vibe of Alcohol. "He'd been wanting to collaborate for a while, so I figured what the hell," mentions Oberst. Kasher brings his moody, indie/acoustic take from last year's Album Of The Year to many, fully audible tracks on the album, like "True Love" and "Born In A Bottle." However, it's like Kasher isn't even there, a ghost in the background simply spreading the Saddle Creek sound further through the album.

Oberst has even announced plans to release it on, of all labels, former MCA/Geffen-distributed Drive-Thru Records. "I didn't want to hit Saddle Creek too hard financially with all these album releases, so it was easier for me to just do it in conjunction with someone else. Drive-Thru has put out some of my favorit-...some of my more, I'm good friends with one of their band's guitar techs, so it was a no-brainer."

Like his past classics, influences on the record include Bob Dylan and James Taylor. "Well, like I said. It's a Bright Eyes album. What the hell more do you want?" Oberst growls as he spits high-proof liquor in this adamant press release combatant's face, which brings it to another point: The obvious effect of alcohol on the record. "You wanna make something of it?" asks Oberst. Impossible, when the man has already made something: An American classic of an album, and proved himself as someone who's already let a moderated amount of the album title subject pour into his heart and soul, and thus give an honest reflection of a battled and bruised folk hero in We Can Breathe Under Alcohol.

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